Two climbers die of exposure, others rescued from Japan Alps

Kyodo

Two men died of exposure while climbing a mountain in the Northern Alps in central Japan, police said Tuesday, as a string of mountain-climbing accidents were reported across the nation on the last day of the Golden Week holiday period.

The police said the two who froze to death during a climb up the 3,190-meter Mount Hotaka, which straddles Gifu and Nagano prefectures, were Osamu Gorai, a 46-year-old company employee, and Kazunori Motozu, a 68-year-old who worked at an orthopedic clinic. Both were from Ibaraki Prefecture.

The Nagano and Gifu prefectural police received an emergency call late Monday and searched from early morning Tuesday until noon, when they found the pair, who had both had suffered cardiopulmonary arrest.

A third climber, who is in his 40s and also from Ibaraki, suffered frostbite to his hands, but the injuries were not life-threatening.

Local police said the three, who belong to an Ibaraki alpine club, are believed to have climbed the mountain from the Gifu side.

A separate group of alpinists climbing the mountain from the Nagano side sought help from police early Tuesday after three men and two women, whose ages ranged from the 20s to 60s, could not move due to hypothermia and exhaustion. All eight were rescued by helicopter and did not sustain any life-threatening injury, the police said.

Elsewhere, Koji Shibuya, a 45-year-old company executive from Aichi Prefecture, was rescued after going missing while climbing the 2,067-meter Mount Kuroboshiga in the Southern Alps. Shibuya is conscious but broke his left leg, local police said.

Four men from Okayama Prefecture climbing the 1,729-meter Mount Daisen in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan were rescued Tuesday by helicopter.

Three people remain missing on the 2,017-meter Mount Kumotori, which stands on the borders of Tokyo, Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures, police said.