At least eight rescue workers have been killed and 20 others buried by the second of two avalanches within hours in Turkey.

The rescuers were hit by a wall of snow on a mountain road as they searched for missing people following an earlier avalanche in the eastern province of Van.

Some 300 emergency workers had been sent to the road near Bahcesehir after the first avalanche struck late on Tuesday, killing at least five people.

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Meki Arvas, the town’s mayor, gave the death toll for the rescuers.

Twenty-five trapped emergency workers have been rescued from the under snow and taken to hospital following the second avalanche, said Van province‘s governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez. He gave no information on their conditions.

The first avalanche buried a snow-clearing vehicle and a minibus, killing five people and leaving two others missing. Seven passengers survived along with the driver, who was reportedly trapped for 25 minutes before managing to break a window of the vehicle and escape.

The second avalanche struck as workers were searching for the two missing victims, NTV television reported, adding that fog and heavy snow were hampering the rescue efforts.

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