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Turkey avalanche: At least 21 killed after rescue workers are buried under snow

At least 21 people have been killed and dozens left trapped after two avalanches in Turkey.

The death toll includes military police and civilians who were working to rescue victims of an earlier snowslide, the local governor said.

Rescuers were called out initially after two people and a minibus were buried under the snow in Bahcesaray, eastern Turkey.

During the rescue attempt a second avalanche buried more than 50 members of the search and rescue team.

Mehmet Emin Bilmez, governor of the eastern province of Van, said 30 of those have now been rescued and taken to hospital.

Authorities said some of the workers managed to dig themselves out of the snow.

TV footage showed dozens of people using shovels and sticks in snowfall and high winds to dig out buried and overturned vehicles.

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Shocking pictures are emerging of the scene (Twitter)

Hundreds of people have been helping with the rescue efforts after the incident overnight, according to reports.

Terrifying photos show parts of a bus trapped in thick snow with people crowded around.

The ongoing search and rescue is being inhibited by the snowfall and blizzard.

A large number of roads are currently closed due to the weather conditions.

“Seven people were rescued during the search. Unfortunately, five others were found dead under the snow,” Van governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez earlier told the Middle East Monitor.

The death toll has now reached 21, a local governor confirmed.

Hundreds are said to be helping the rescue efforts (Twitter)
Additional rescue teams have been dispatched (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In a statement, the Interior Ministry said 30 people had been rescued.

Meki Arvas, mayor of a district in the eastern province of Van, was quoted by broadcaster NTV as saying a team of 300 people had been working to rescue people trapped under an earlier avalanche on Tuesday when a second snowslide hit.

The Bahcesaray district is said to frequently experience harsh winter weather conditions.

Dramatic footage shows rescue operation after Turkey avalanche

Mehmet Emin Bilmez warned more avalanches could occur and told locals to follow the instructions of emergency workers.

Additional search and rescue teams have been dispatched and 15 ambulances are in the area, Daily Sabah reports.