A Frenchman has been missing since Monday in Yamanashi Prefecture near the country’s second-highest mountain, and his friends are now desperate to raise funds to kick off a private search for him, it was learned Friday.

Pascal Burel, a 50-year-old Saitama Prefecture resident, was last seen Monday afternoon at the foot of 3,193-meter Mount Kitadake in the Southern Alps, asking a bus driver about the bus timetable. He apparently spent the morning taking photos around Kofu, the prefectural capital, which is surrounded by high peaks, including Mount Fuji, and he then apparently headed toward Kitadake on his own.

According to his Japanese wife, Kiyomi Hosono, he was wearing “two black long-sleeved shirts, a waterproof jacket and waterproof pants” at the time. Burel is about 180 cm tall and he has a shaved head.

After his conversation with the bus driver, Burel apparently began to stroll down the nearby Noro River. But nobody has seen him since then.

The police initially suspected Burel went on to hike Mount Kitadake after walking down the river. But they are now looking into the possibility that he didn’t climb the mountain and are therefore conducting a more widespread search near the mountain.

The police have been searching for him for a few days, but heavy rainfall in recent days has prevented them from doing a full-fledged hunt. It seems highly likely they will have to suspend the search for the coming days due to an approaching massive typhoon, according to his colleague, Adrian Ringin.

In cooperation with other friends and colleagues, Ringin, who works with Burel at Gaba Corp., is now spearheading the effort to raise funds to organize a private search for him.

Although no specifics have been decided, Ringin is hoping to use any donations to commission mountain specialists to conduct their own search.

For more information, visit www.generalunion.org/News/1091, or the “Find Pascal Burel” Facebook page.

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