The eruption of Mount Ontake, Japan’s second-highest volcano, which sits between Gifu and Nagano Prefectures, has sent shockwaves throughout Japan as police and rescue agencies battled to rescue as many people as they could.
Police recently announced that 31 people who had suffered cardio-respiratory arrest had been found at the summit of the mountain, while many others are seriously injured. The search has now been called off temporarily.
Netizens have responded with shock at this tragic disaster.
Mount Ontake Eruption: Police Confirm 31 People Suffer Cardio-Respiratory Arrest Around Volcanic Vent, All Evacuees Removed From Mountain
On September 28 Nagano Prefectural Police confirmed that after the erruption of Mount Ontake (3067 meters), which straddles Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, 31 people had suffered cardio-respiratory arrests close to the summit. Of these, 4 were carried to the foot of the mountain. On the same day at just past 2pm, police and other agencies called off their efforts due to fears of a secondary eruption, and those climbers who had been taking refuge in mountain huts had either been rescued or had descended the mountain of their own accord.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, on the afternoon of September 28 an eruption was confirmed, and volcanic activity continued. The government established a strategic headquarters for the disaster that afternoon, under the Basic Act on Disaster Control Measures. The Prime Minister’s Residence confirmed that the communications room at the residence had been upgraded to a strategy room. According to Nagano Prefecture, of those who had descended the mountain, 30 were seriously injured. Of those climbers who had descended into Gifu Prefecture, 2 had suffered serious injuries, but it appeared that there were also other injured climbers.
Police from both prefectures, as well as the Japan Self Defense Forces began their search early on the morning of September 28 with a 550-strong team. They discovered 31 people near the volcanic vent and along the mountain path who had suffered cardio-respiratory arrest. Most of these had collapsed outside, and there were also some who had become trapped between large rocks. A woman who descended the mountain said:”I saw two people near the summit who had been buried with ash and who had stopped moving. They seemed to be dead”.
Gifu Police took one seriously injured woman to a hospital in Takayama by helicopter. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force also rescued 7 climbers by helicopter, but all of these were able to walk.
Around 40 people stayed in mountain huts overnight, and began to descend the mountain early the next morning. 35 people, including children, were escorted by soldiers, and by just past 3pm, they exited via the Gifu side of the mountain of their own accord.
From Sankei Shimbun:
Comments from Twitter:
My sympathy for those who were caught in the eruption but were luckily saved, and for those who were injured, and may those who unfortunately died rest in peace.
Mountain climbing is scary….
I guess that in a moment you could pass out from the volcanic gases like hydrogen sulphide…or maybe it depends on the explosion itself…
Wah…I bet this was the kind of heroic experience that you usually see in Hollywood movies…
The Mount Ontake eruption is in a much worse state than I’d thought.
The number of casualties is rising.
This has become a catastrophic event. The eruption seems to have happened 12 minutes from the time the first volcanic tremors were observed. It seems like nature is ridiculing man, saying “don’t be too proud”.
I think that they should do whatever they can.
This is really worrying.
I wonder how many people are left unaccounted for.
This is an era where there is constantly someone somewhere who is victim of a disaster. It could be any one of us next.
If people had taken refuge in mountain huts because they were afraid of the falling stones, I guess they must have been killed by volcanic gasses….
Mount Ontake…More than thirty people with cardio-respiratory arrest!?
Dear gods, please please don’t take the lives of innocent people!!
Comments from Yahoo! Japan:
When it’s raining you do feel safe when you escape into a mountain hut, but that’s no use when there’s a volcanic eruption.
There are volcanic gases and lapilli.
Even if you are buried by volcanic ash, then the ash is probably pretty hot.
We tend to forget that nature also has this side to it.
When we climbed to Kengamine peak last year, I never even felt there would be an eruption.
Nature is frightening…
I had a bad feeling about this, but it’s become really serious. All I can say is that I’m so so sorry.
I think that there are all sorts of theories about what to do when you lose your way on a mountain and get into difficulties, but if the mountain you’re climbing suddenly erupts, the average person panics.
At the time of the volcanic eruption, those who escaped it but were near the summit were interviewed, and I really wished they could have helped the other climbers, but actually those who made it off the mountain had death defying escapes, and those who were rescued are probably miracles.
There are some people who’ll say it’s the Meteorological Agency’s fault,
but mountain climbing is a leisure activity.
Even the Meteorological Agency have to prioritize areas where people are living, and even that is pretty difficult.
At the top of a mountain, you really have to be responsible for protecting yourself, so that you don’t get injured or slip.
And you really have to research it for yourself whether or not you’re climbing an active volcano.
It seemed as though they might have made in it time, but it’s not something you can escape so easily.
The thing is, they need to ban climbing on everything other than extinct volcanoes.
If they do, then climbing Mount Fuji would also be forbidden, we’d protect the natural environment, and that would be that.
More than 30 people….
isn’t that a major disaster?
Wow there are quite a lot of victims…
It would just never occur to you that climbing a mountain on the weekend there might be an eruption like that.