ISTANBUL: Local officials said Wednesday at least 33 people were killed in a landslide in eastern Turkey during a search and rescue operation following a similar accident the previous day.
According to state news agency Anadolu, the bodies of 23 rescue workers and nine civilians were found at the incident site in Van province, where they had helped to recover a minibus covered by an avalanche late Tuesday. Five people were killed who were traveling in the minibus, bringing the total death toll to 38.
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Despite difficult winter conditions causing transportation problems, the governor said rescue efforts continued, with TV images showing heavy snow continuing to fall on the mountainside.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca cautioned that there could be an increase in the number of casualties as local media reported an unknown number of people might still be under the snow.
Local media reported that people of nearby areas have joined the rescue operations in a hard-to-reach area under harsh winter. News images showed dozens of people walking up the mountains, searching in blizzards through the snow to find the ones caught under the snow.