Sunday, September 28, 2014

Japan's Mount Ontake volcano erupts without warning

A couple of news outlets are reporting that some hikers who were in the wrong place, wrong time are missing, presumed dead. However, those deaths are not confirmed.

From Reuters:
More than 500 Japanese military and police set out on Sunday to search the peak of a volcano popular with hikers a day after its sudden eruption trapped hundreds on the mountain for hours, amid conflicting reports about missing and injured climbers.

Japanese media said seven people were reported to be unconscious, possibly buried in ash, as Mount Ontake continued to spew smoke and ash into the sky, while local officials said they were trying to confirm the whereabouts of 32 hikers.

Late on Saturday, Japanese media reported that one woman was dead but that was later withdrawn. At least 40 people were injured, including several with broken bones, officials said.

"It's very hard to know what's happening on the mountain now and things could change," said one official with the government of Nagano prefecture, one of two prefectures straddled by the 3,067 meters (10,062 feet) Ontake.

Hundreds of people, including children, were stranded on the peak after it erupted without warning just before noon on Saturday, sending ash pouring down the slope for more than 3 km (2 miles.) Most made their way down that evening but some 30 were still stranded on Sunday morning........

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