Nearly 40 people have been killed and dozens are feared trapped after two avalanches struck rescue workers who were looking for five victims of an earlier avalanche.

“More than 100 rescue workers had been sent to Van province in eastern Turkey to try and reach people believed to be still buried after an avalanche on Tuesday evening,” said Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.

“Search and rescue works continue at in the Bahcesaray district of Turkey’s eastern Van province on Wednesday. The second avalanche occurred around midday on Wednesday, burying rescue teams. At least 14 rescuers are among the victims.”

Video from the scene showed a number of overturned vehicles at the bottom of a hill in heavy snow. Some rescuers were climbing a steep incline to get away while others dug frantically into the snow.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Interior Minister and the president’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said on Twitter that “every tool available was mobilised” to help officials.

Turkey Avalanches

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