Turkey avalanche kills at least eight rescuers on mountainside

Turkish soldiers and locals try to rescue people trapped under snow following an avalanche in Bahcesaray in Van province, Turkey, 5 February 2020Image copyright

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Rescuers and locals try to help people trapped in their vehicles after the avalanche in Turkey

At least eight rescuers have been killed and dozens of people trapped after a second avalanche struck a mountainside in Turkey, officials say.

About 300 rescue workers were at the site, near the eastern border with Iran, dealing with an earlier avalanche on Tuesday that killed five people.

More than 50 people are believed to be trapped in vehicles in the area following the incident on Wednesday.

Twenty-five people have been rescued so far. Many were taken to hospital.

Pictures from the scene in Bahcesaray in Van province show people being carried away on stretchers.

The governor of Van province, Mehmet Emin Bilmez, said rescue teams – including specially trained dogs – had been sent to the region to help free those trapped and clear the area.

Soldiers and locals from Bahcesaray joined the rescue efforts, which were being hampered by fog and snow, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported.

A construction worker who was caught in the snow on Tuesday evening managed to escape and raise the alarm.

That avalanche, in which two people remain missing, buried a minibus and a vehicle that was being used to clear snow.