Rescuers arrived at the scene of a recent avalanche in Eastern Turkey when a secondary avalanche was triggered, killing 33 people. The death toll at the horrific scene has now risen to 38, and 53 have been injured, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD) reports.
An avalanche struck late on Tuesday, Feb. 4, killing five people near the Turkish mountain town of Bahcesaray in the Van province on the Turkish-Iranian border. 300 emergency service workers were called to the highway in which it occurred on the following day, Wednesday, Feb. 4, to rescue those still trapped on the snowy highway in their partially buried vehicles. Then disaster struck again.
A second avalanche was then remotely triggered after the rescuers arrived and were searching for two more burial victims from the first slide. The approximate dimensions of the second avalanche are currently unknown, but we know it was BIG. It killed 33 people, on top of the 5 killed from the previous avalanche. 53 were injured.
30 emergency workers were able to escape from the second avalanche and have since been hospitalized, Turkey’s interior ministry said. However, further information about their condition has yet to be released.
BBC News reports that two military aircraft have been sent from the capital, Ankara, carrying 75 more rescuers. Both soldiers and locals from Bahcesaray are joining rescue efforts, which are being led by AFAD.
At the time of this writing, we do not know the total amount of people still missing. This avalanche accident is one of the worst in Turkey’s history, and one of the worst-recorded avalanche-accidents in recent years globally.