October 8, 2014

JAPAN: Mount Ontake Catastrophic Volcano Eruption Death Toll Rises To 55. Search Efforts Resumed On Tuesday.

Mainichi News, Japan
written by Staff
Wednesday October 8, 2014

NAGANO, Japan (Kyodo) -- Another body was found Wednesday near the peak of Mt. Ontake in central Japan, bringing the death toll from a catastrophic volcanic eruption last month to 55.

While the body had yet to be identified, local police said the three bodies found Tuesday had been identified, leaving the number of people believed still to be missing on the volcano to nine. The three found Tuesday had died from being struck by debris from the eruption, the police said.

Search efforts resumed on Tuesday after being suspended for three days due to a powerful typhoon. According to the local weather observatory, the surrounding area was forecast to have clear skies through Saturday.

Nearly 1,000 police officers, firefighters and Ground Self-Defense Force personnel participated in search efforts, 400 of whom searched near the summit of the 3,067 meter peak that erupted without warning on Sept. 27.

They combed the area, mud-covered from the ash of the eruption and rain, by walking shoulder to shoulder so as not to miss any spot. They will continue the search taking into account eyewitness reports of where the missing were prior to the eruption.

One GSDF member of the search team developed symptoms of hypothermia after being caught neck-high in mud near the summit, while a police officer suffered altitude sickness. Neither was in serious condition, search team sources said.

Mt. Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, is Japan's second-highest active volcano, after Mt. Fuji, and a popular hiking destination in the fall.

No comments: