Van (Turkey): Rescuers recovered the dead body of one of the two journalists missing underneath the rubble of an earthquake-shattered hotel as the death toll in the second earthquake to hit eastern Turkey in about two weeks rose to at least 25.
   
A colleague on Friday identified a body found in the rubble of the collapsed hotel in the eastern city of Van as that of Cem Emir, a reporter from a news agency, who had rushed to the region in the aftermath of a more powerful earthquake, the state-run news agency reported.
   
A second reporter for the agency, Sebahattin Yilmaz, was still missing beneath the debris of the Bayram Hotel, one of the two hotels that fell apart when the 5.7-magnitude quake hit Van late on Wednesday.
   
"In our profession we always come across disasters," news agency's General Manager, Ugur Cebeci said earlier as he watched rescuers in red overalls search through the debris of the once five-story hotel. "But we are grappling with helplessness here."
   
Relief workers who had arrived in the city to help survivors of the earlier, more powerful earthquake that hit the region on October 23, also became victims when the hotel, weakened by the earlier temblor, collapsed on Wednesday. The fatalities include a Japanese relief worker who had come to distribute aid to quake survivors and eight employees of a company who were in Van to assemble temporary housing units for survivors.
   
Rescuers pulled out 13 bodies from the wreckage of the Bayram Hotel as well as the low-budget Aslan Hotel on Friday, raising the death toll to 25, according to state-run television.
   
Authorities called off rescue operations at the Aslan by the late afternoon, but rescuers continued their search for possible survivors at the Bayram, their work made more difficult by heavy snow that began to fall in the evening.
   
It was not known on Friday how many people remained buried in the rubble of the Bayram Hotel.
   
"We are not able to hear any voices," said Disaster management official Askit Dayi. "But still we are removing layers of concrete in a way as if there are survivors." He said the search efforts at both sites could end by midnight last night.
   
Recep Salci of the rescue group Akut said that freezing temperatures at night were also posing a threat to any possible survivors.
   
Rescue teams were using an emergency evacuation plan to determine possible escape routes within the pancaked building, said Bulent Gunduz of the Siemens private rescue team. "We can see all escape routes and fire stairs," said Gunduz. "The emergency floor plan has become like a compass for us."

(Agencies)