Avalanche and volcano kill one in Japan ski resort

A Japanese soldier has been killed in an avalanche in central Japan that appears to have been triggered by a volcanic eruption

At least 14 people have also been injured, several of them critically.

The eruption sent rocks raining down over a kilometre-wide area near Kusatsu in central Gunma prefecture, say local media.

Four people who were riding a gondola at the resort at the time were among those injured.

Six members of the military, who were conducting an exercise in the area, had to be rescued from the avalanche.

Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, 150km (93 miles) from Tokyo, erupted Tuesday morning but it is not clear if that is what triggered the avalanche.

“Based on various measurements, we can say that the mountain appears to have erupted, but we are still trying to confirm facts on the ground,” Japans Meteorological Agency said, according to Reuters.

The agency has warned people not climb the mountain.

One person was initially reported missing in the avalanche, but officials later said that was not the case.

Rocks raining down

According to state broadcaster NHK, some of the volcanic debris fell more than 1km (0.6 miles) from the mountain.

Local media show footage of rocks plummeting down, kicking up clouds of snow as they hit the ground.

“Black smoke rose from the top of the mountain and we were told to evacuate inside 30 minutes later,” an eyewitness at the resort told NHK, adding that around 100 people had been evacuated.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency warned that rocks could be raining down as far as 2km from the peak, Reuters said.

Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active nations and closely monitors its volcanos.

In September 2014, 63 people were killed in a sudden eruption of Mount Ontake.

Leave a Reply