Turkey: Avalanche buries search team, 23 killed
05 February 2020| 10 Jumadul Ukhraa 1441| Anadolu Agency
At least 23 rescue workers were reported dead after they were buried under a second avalanche in eastern Turkey, authorities said on Wednesday.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 30 people were rescued and taken to hospital.
Mehmet Emin Bilmez, governor of the eastern Van province, said the deceased include civilians, gendarmes, village guards and fire fighters.
Bilmez noted that the condition of nine of the rescued people was critical, while there was still no information on how many people are buried under the avalanche.
The rescue team members had been searching for survivors from an earlier avalanche in eastern Turkey when they themselves were engulfed by snow. The number of casualties from the team is as yet unclear.
Bilmez told Anadolu Agency that intense search and rescue efforts are ongoing, and 15 ambulances were sent to the region.
The danger of avalanches continues, he added.
“Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) members were engulfed in an avalanche while looking for those trapped under snow this morning,” said Bilmez.
At least five people were killed in an avalanche in Van on Tuesday, with two people still missing.
Tuesday’s avalanche took place in the Van’s Bahcesaray district during bad weather and struck a minibus traveling the Van-Bahcesaray highway.
Ringed by gigantic mountains, Bahcesaray frequently faces harsh winter conditions.