Eight climbers rescued; pair await airlift; two missing

Kyodo

Eight people who were stranded Wednesday on Mount Chokai on the border of Akita and Yamagata prefectures were rescued Friday, police said, adding that all are in good health.

Elsewhere in the mountains, however, two other climbers were found with frostbite injuries and two remain missing.

According to Akita police, the eight, men ranging in age from their 20s to 50s from Akita and Iwate prefectures, took to the mountain Wednesday on snowmobiles with another eight people. But only half of them managed to return after they were hit by a severe snowstorm.

The stranded eight spent Wednesday night in a snow cave they made as a shelter, the police said. On Thursday, they managed to descend to a cottage halfway down the mountain, where they spent another night, they added. The cottage had a stove and they had some food.

Meanwhile, Nagano police Friday found two climbers who were stranded after a snowstorm hit Tuesday on Mount Otenshodake in the Northern Alps. Both have suffered frostbite but are conscious and awaiting an airlift. Nagano police are also searching for two climbers who were reported missing Monday on Mount Myojin.