Five killed in avalanche in eastern Turkey; two missing

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An avalanche hit a road in eastern Turkey, burying a snow-clearing vehicle and a minibus, and killing at least five people, an official said yesterday. Two other people are reported missing.

The avalanche occurred near the mountain-surrounded town of Bahcesehir, in Van province, which borders Iran.

Governer Mehmet Emin Bilmez told reporters that the snow-clearing vehicle’s operator and six people inside the minibus survived. Rescuers were searching for the other two passengers, but their efforts were hampered by the weather conditions.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that the operator, Bahattin Karagulle, was trapped beneath the snow for some 25 minutes before he managed to break a window and escape.

The agency quoted him as saying that he walked toward a village before he was picked up by a vehicle and managed to seek help.