National

Climbing accidents claim two in Gunma and Toyama; Dutch woman survives nasty fall

Kyodo, Staff Report

At least two people died and one was seriously injured in separate alpine accidents Sunday in Gunma and Toyama prefectures as the Golden Week holiday season entered its second day.

According to the police, 73-year-old Yoshie Naganuma died at around 11:10 a.m. after sliding about 150 meters down Mount Myogi in Gunma Prefecture after losing her balance while descending a rocky slope by chain. She was evacuated by helicopter but confirmed dead from traumatic shock.

The 1,204-meter mountain is known for a unique shape created by multiple peaks and rocks. Naganuma was climbing with a party of eight.

In Toyama Prefecture, Naomi Oda, 63, was caught by an avalanche on a ridge line on 2,999-meter Mount Tsurugi. He was taken to a hospital but confirmed to have died from suffocation, the police said.

Oda and his 46-year-old climbing partner were attempting to reach the summit but gave up after it took more time than expected. The avalanche hit them as they were descending at 2,700 meters. The younger man managed to escape unharmed.

At another mountain at the foot of the Tateyama range in Toyama, a 39-year-old man from Holland called police at around 2:50 p.m. to report that his compatriot was missing.

After a 3½-hour search, rescuers found that the 37-year-old woman had survived a fall into a crack and broken her neck and arm. The crack, which had formed between a rock and snow, was about 2 meters deep and at an elevation of 600 meters.

The two arrived in Japan on April 22 and had visited Toyama Prefecture on Sunday, after traveling to Tokyo and Nagano Prefecture.