ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A second avalanche slammed into a mountain road in eastern Turkey on Wednesday, killing at least eight rescue workers and leaving 20 others buried under the snow, a local mayor said. The emergency crew had been sent to the site to find two other people missing in a previous avalanche.
Some 300 emergency service workers were called to a highway near the mountain-surrounded town of Bahcesehir, in Van province, which borders Iran, after an avalanche struck late Tuesday, killing five people.
Meki Arvas, mayor of Bahcesaray, gave the death toll for the rescue workers. Gov. Mehmet Emin Bilmez said 25 emergency service members were rescued from under the snow and hospitalized Wednesday. There was no further information on their conditions.
The first avalanche buried a snow-clearing vehicle and a minibus, killing five people and leaving two others missing. The vehicle's operator and seven passengers escaped alive.
The second avalanche struck Wednesday as 300 emergency workers were searching for the two missing victims, private NTV television reported, adding that fog and heavy snow were hampering the rescue efforts.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the operator, Bahattin Karagulle, was trapped beneath the snow for some 25 minutes before he managed to break a window and escape. The agency quoted him as saying that he walked toward a village before he was picked up by a vehicle and managed to seek help.