World News

Death toll rises to at least 41 after twin avalanches in Turkey

Posted February 6, 2020 9:54 a.m. EST

— At least 41 people have been killed and 84 injured after two avalanches hit the mountainside near Turkey's eastern border with Iran in 24 hours, the Turkish Natural Disaster and Crisis Directorate (AFAD) said Thursday.

The avalanches took place on Tuesday and Wednesday near the Van-Bahcesaray highway in Turkey's Van province.

The second avalanche, which hit around midday Wednesday, killed dozens of rescuers who were responding to the first snowslide, according to Turkish state media TRT.

A team of 180 search and rescue workers has since been deployed to the scene, along with medical units and ambulances, AFAD said Thursday.

"Two mobile base stations have been brought in to prevent communication disruptions," AFAD added.

On Tuesday, the first avalanche hit a stretch of mountain road, pummeling a minibus and snow-clearing vehicle, killing five people and injuring eight.

Agency images on Tuesday night showed vehicles upturned in the snow as rescuers worked in the darkness in search of survivors.

A team of more than 170 rescuers -- including soldiers, firefighters, civilians and village guards -- was then deployed the area to search for two people believed to be buried in the snow, Turkey's Disaster Management Authority said.

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