KAGOSHIMA – 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.”