National

Two hikers die on Yakushima mountain

Kyodo

Two hikers in their 60s were found dead Monday on a mountain on the island of Yakushima in Kagoshima Prefecture, police said.

They were identified as Kanako Yamada, 69, of Kagoshima, who vanished in a swollen stream Sunday morning, and Kazunori Tanaka, 67, also of Kagoshima, a member of the same hiking group who had gone to search for her, the police said.

The rest of the party descended safely after Yamada got swept away at around 9:20 a.m.

Police officers and local rescue workers found the missing pair in a stream early Monday.

Yamada and Tanaka were later confirmed dead at a hospital on the heavily forested World Heritage site.

The two were in a party of five that set out Friday to climb 1,936-meter Mount Miyanoura. They were between 50 and 80 years old and came from Fukuoka, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures.

According to Mizuha Higashi, a 43-year-old Yakushima mountain guide, the area was hit by a thunderstorm Sunday morning.

“On Yakushima, (streams) tend to swell abruptly when it rains,” Higashi said. “It is important even for experienced hikers to make a cautious judgment.”

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