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Twenty-one dead, others trapped after avalanche in eastern Turkey

 An avalanche in eastern Turkey killed at least 21 people, including military police and civilians who were working to rescue the victims of an earlier snowslide, the local governor said on Wednesday (February 5).

Mehmet Emin Bilmez, governor of the eastern province of Van, said some 30 people had been pulled out from under the snow.

More people are believed to be trapped, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said earlier, without giving a number.

TV footage shot from Van’s Bahcesaray district showed dozens of people gathered in snowfall and high winds to dig out any survivors, who were seen being carried away on stretchers. One man was seen performing CPR on a person rescued from beneath the snow.

Rescuers used shovels and sticks to dig out vehicles buried by the avalanche. 

An earlier avalanche had hit Van on Tuesday (February 4), resulting in five casualties. Eight people were rescued from the first avalanche, before the second snowslide struck as teams were searching for two others.

(Production: Mehmet Emin Caliskan, Omer Berberoglu, Yesim Dikmen)

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