Japan: 31 found unconcious on volcano, feared dead

Nagano Prefecture - a central Japanese area where Mount Ontake lies - reports around 30 people with lung and heart failure.

Rescue workers on Sunday found 31 people unconscious and feared dead near the peak of a Japanese volcano that erupted Saturday, according to officials and local media.

The Japan Times reported that around 10 of the 31 victims were found near a spot where toxic smoke billowed from the side of the volcano and they "could not be rescued," while Nagano Prefecture - one of the central Japanese areas where the volcano lies - reported on its website that around 30 people found on the mountain had suffered lung and heart failure.

Emergency workers had been searching for 45 hikers reported missing on the 3,067-meter volcano, named Mount Ontake.

The volcano erupted for the first time in seven years at 11:53 a.m. on Saturday, spewing rocks into the air and leaving hundreds of people scrambling for safety and 34 people injured, 12 of them seriously, according to the country's Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported the Prefecture as saying that about 250 people were on its slopes at the time, but by nightfall most had made their way to safety - many reported to be suffering respiratory problems after being covered with volcanic ash.

On Sunday morning, smoke could be seen rising around 300 meters into the air from the volcano's craters and drifting south while tremors continued, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency.

Officials had cautioned those living within 4 kilometers to be wary of falling rocks thrown into the air by the eruption.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters late Saturday evening that he had instructed a liaison office at the central government's Crisis Management Center to do its utmost to secure the safety of those in the area and confirm how much damage had been done.

Mount Ontake is the second highest volcano in Japan and was thought to be inactive until 1979, when it underwent a series of eruptions. Further eruptions occurred in 1991 and 2007.

Each year, thousands of people climb to the summit to admire its autumn foliage.

Traffic restrictions were imposed in the area Saturday.

Last Modified: 2014-09-29 08:40:11
  • Visitors: 6957
  • (Suanki Oy 0.0/5 Yildiz) Toplam Oy: 0
  • 0 0