Lost school party found safe in Nara mountains

Kyodo, JIJI

Police located a school group Tuesday that was reported missing the previous day while on a camping trip in the mountains of Nara Prefecture.

All 12 members of the group from Uenomiya Junior High School in Osaka, including 10 students, were found around 11 a.m. about 3.5 km southwest of Myojindaira, a 1,323-meter-tall mountain near the village of Higashiyoshino, the police said.

About 30 police and fire officials looked for the group on foot and by helicopter. At around 10:45 a.m., one of the search-party members heard someone yell “Help.”

The party was confirmed safe at around 12:30 p.m., although two students were slightly injured and were to be taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, police said, adding the rest of the group would return to Osaka on a bus chartered by their school.

“We got lost because some roads were demolished by last year’s typhoon,” one of the students said.

According to their hiking plan submitted to police in advance, the students, members of the school’s mountaineering and outdoor activity club, and the teachers were to stay at a lodge near Myojin-daira for three days starting Saturday and meet their families at a train station in Osaka at 5 p.m. Monday to return home.

When they didn’t show up, the families asked the police to search for them. The search began Tuesday morning.