A second avalanche slammed into a mountain road in eastern Turkey on Wednesday. 23 rescue workers from a large team of about 300 who was searching for two people previously missing were killed.
The disaster, which increased the death toll to 28, occurred after emergency service workers were called to a highway near the mountain-surrounded town of Bahcesaray in Van province, which borders Iran, after an avalanche struck late Tuesday. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said 30 people had been rescued from the steep slope and were hospitalized Wednesday. Another 15 people were believed to be trapped in the snow, said Meki Arvas, mayor of a Bahcesaray. Video from the scene showed at least three overturned vehicles at the bottom of a hill during a snow storm. TV footage showed dozens of people using shovels and pick-axes to dig into the snow.
Rescued bodies of death victims included eight military police officers, three government-paid village guards, three firefighters and nine volunteers. Heavy snow, fog and strong winds were hindering the rescue operation. One rescue vehicle was pulled out from under 16ft of snow, according to Turkey's interior minister, Suleyman Soylu.