TATEYAMA TOYAMA PREF. – Seven climbers were killed by an avalanche on Mount Masago in the Tateyama range, Toyama Prefecture, on Saturday.
According to the Toyama Prefectural Police, the fatalities were four men and three women who had gone to the mountain for climbing and skiing. They were confirmed dead after being taken to hospital by helicopter.
After retrieving the seven bodies, the police continued search efforts for other climbers who might have been caught in the avalanche, which ripped down the steep west side of the 2,860-meter peak at around 11 a.m.
The avalanche was about 30 meters wide and 600 meters long. The police received an emergency call from a man who witnessed it from a distance of 3 km.
The disaster occurred after a fresh meter of snow in the last few days piled up on top of the existing 1-meter-thick snow on the mountain, according to local residents. “I’ve never heard of an avalanche happening there in the past,” a mountain lodge worker said.