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Second Turkish avalanche kills 33 responders during rescue mission

After an avalanche in Turkey killed five people and left two more missing in the country’s eastern region, another avalanche wiped out a team of rescuers who responded to find the missing people at the scene. This incident that took place on Wednesday raised the death toll from five to 38 according to officials. 53 others were injured in the second avalanche while others are still buried under the snow according to reports.

Around 300 emergency responders were summoned to participate in rescue and retrieval operations at a highway in the Van province district of Bahcesaray following an avalanche that struck on Tuesday. The next day, the entire team was hit by a second avalanche at around noon local time.

According to the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), 33 bodies were recovered from the scene under a mass of snow. Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez confirmed that eight military police officers, three village guards, three firefighters, and nine more volunteers had died in the tragedy. Operations are still underway and the death toll is expected to increase if more bodies are found.

The Turkish Interior Ministry reported around 30 rescue workers — who were pulled from the snow or managed to escape on their own — were rushed to the hospital on Wednesday. The public is still waiting for updates regarding their conditions.

As of this writing, rescue operations are ongoing and hindered by thick fog, heavy snow, and strong winds.

Further updates about the tragic incident will be reported once operations are accomplished.