13 hikers rescued from snowy mountain trail near Tokyo


A party of 13 hikers including four Chinese nationals and a 13-year-old boy were rescued from a mountain trail in western Tokyo Thursday, according to rescuers and local police.

The group spent the night outdoors after unseasonable weather brought cold and snowy conditions to central Japan.

Three of the hikers were unable to walk due to their weakened condition, but none have life-threatening injuries. Three men and three women climbed down the mountain with rescuers at about 6:40 a.m. and were taken to a hospital after complaining of pain and possible frostbite. The remaining seven were rescued by helicopter by 11:35 a.m.

The group is believed to have been stranded due to snow on the mountain trail above the town of Okutama in Tokyo’s far west, about 70 kilometers from the city center. They were found between Mount Mito and Mount Nukazasu, near the border with Yamanashi Prefecture.

They made an emergency call from a mobile phone at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, the same day that areas in central Japan saw snowfall of around 30 centimeters.

The 1,531-meter Mount Mito, adjacent to the 1,175-meter Mount Nukazasu, is largely covered with beech trees and is a popular area with hikers and climbers.