Thirty-three killed in avalanche searching for victims of earlier avalanche

At least 33 rescuers were killed in Turkey an avalanche themselves as they searched for victims of an earlier avalanche.

Turkish media outlets reported that the tragedy unfolded on Wednesday in Turkey’s eastern province of Van.

At least five people were killed in the first avalanche that hit an intercity road and authorities fear the death toll from the second could rise.

According to early official figures, more than 50 rescuers, including eight gendarmerie personnel, three village guards, three firefighters, and nine civilians were caught in the second avalanche at noon on Wednesday.

Fifty-three rescuers reportedly managed to escape the second avalanche with injuries, while eight people survived following the first, from which two people are still reported as missing.

Osman Ucar, the Van Director of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), was among the survivors in the next snowslip.

The two incidents took place on a mountainous road connecting Van to its Bahcesaray district.

Additional teams have been deployed in the scene, carrying on search and rescue operations with shovels and pick-axes on the steep slope despite the continuing heavy snowfall, fog, and strong winds.

Television reports from the scene showed at least three overturned vehicles at the bottom of a hill.

During the winter times, Turkey’s mountainous eastern regions often face avalanches that close a number of roads connecting remote areas to city centers in the region.

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