January 10, 2015 / 3:46 PM / 5 years ago

Avalanche kills one, traps four in northeastern Turkey

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - One worker was killed and four remained trapped by an avalanche in Turkey’s northeast on Saturday following a week of vicious snow storms across the region, the disaster management agency (AFAD) said.

The five workers were repairing a broken generator in a construction site for a tunnel when the avalanche struck, AFAD spokesman Dogan Eskinat said. AFAD teams had recovered one body and the effort to rescue other people was underway but bad weather delayed efforts.

“There is a 1 kilometre climb to where the four workers remain trapped. I am told weather is terrible and the rescue helicopters could not take off,” Eskinat said.

Hundreds of labourers die on the job every year in Turkey and its lax worker safety record has come under increased scrutiny since May, when a coal mine disaster killed 301 workers in the western town of Soma, the country’s worst industrial accident in history.

Six months after the tragedy Turkey tightened work safety regulations and introduced tougher penalties for breaches.

Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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