Avalanche Death Toll Rises to 39 in Turkey

ISTANBUL (AP) — Search efforts have resumed in eastern Turkey after two avalanches killed dozens and left at least two people missing, Turkish news agencies reported.

The private DHA news agency said one body was recovered Thursday, bringing the death toll from the two avalanches to 39.

A rescue crew digs out vehicles caught in an avalanche in eastern Turkey on Wednesday. (DHA photo via AP)

Rescue workers, aided by dogs, were conducting scans in eastern Van province Thursday to find the missing, according to the official Anadolu news agency.

Five people were killed and two people went missing in an avalanche that struck late Tuesday. Some 300 emergency service workers were called to a highway near the mountain-surrounded town of Bahcesaray in Van province, which borders Iran. Around noon Wednesday, the team was struck by a second avalanche.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said early Thursday that 47 people remained hospitalized with six in intensive care, but not in critical condition.

A ceremony was held for 11 military police officers, nine government-paid village guards and two firefighters in Van. Their coffins were sent to their hometowns for burial.

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