Avalanches kill 12 in mountainous area near Iran’s capital

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In this photo released by Iran's Red Crescent Society, bags containing bodies of mountaineers who died after avalanches in a mountainous area north of the capital are placed on the ground carried by a rescue helicopter, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. A series of avalanches in Iran killed multiple people on Friday following strong winds and snowfall a day earlier. (Iran's Red Crescent Society via AP)

TEHRAN – Iranian rescue workers ended their search for survivors Sunday following a series of avalanches that killed 12 people in a mountainous area north of the capital, state TV reported.

The avalanches struck in four different areas on Friday following strong winds and snowfall a day earlier.

The Alborz mountain range where the avalanches occurred is a popular weekend destination for hiking and climbing. Fridays are a day off for most Iranian workers.

State TV aired footage showing emergency crews using a helicopter to search for the missing. Iran’s Red Crescent Society also released photos of rescue workers unloading body bags from a helicopter Saturday.

The report said 11 people were found dead, and one died after being transferred to a hospital. It said rescue teams found 14 missing people during the operation.

Authorities said many had disregarded reports by the meteorological office about possible strong winds Friday.

Deadly avalanches are a rare phenomenon in Iran. In 2017, two avalanches killed 11 hikers.