National

Body discovered after search for man who may have livestreamed his fall from summit of Mount Fuji

Kyodo, Staff Report

A body was discovered at Mount Fuji on Wednesday afternoon following a search for a man who may have slid from the snow-capped summit while livestreaming himself on video-sharing service Niconico, police said.

The rescuers discovered the body of an unspecified gender around the seventh station on the Subashiri trail at Mount Fuji, at an altitude of around 2,700 meters, according to Shizuoka Prefectural Police.

An investigation was underway to identify the body to see if it belongs to the man who livestreamed his climb on Monday, police said.

People who saw the livestreaming event called the police at around 3:35 p.m. Monday, according to the Gotenba Police Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.

After failing to find him despite deploying a helicopter Monday and about 10 alpine rescue workers Tuesday, the rescuers resumed their search on Wednesday.

The helicopter confirmed what appeared to be traces of a person having slid down the slope from around the summit, at 3,776 meters, to around the seventh station, public broadcaster NHK reported Tuesday.

The man’s identity, including his name and address, are unknown, and police were checking details of the account with the online video-sharing service, NHK reported.

The footage on Niconico showed a man on top of Mount Fuji, saying his hands were numb from the cold and that he wished he had brought disposable heat packs. He said the trail near the top of the mountain was slippery and covered with snow. He then suddenly started sliding down what he’d said was about a 30 degree slope, feet first with what looked like a ski pole, in an accelerating descent, before the video came to a stop.

Climbing the tallest mountain in Japan from the fifth station to the summit is only allowed between early July and Sept. 10. During other periods, the trails and huts are closed, and climbing the mountain is prohibited in principle as it is “very dangerous,” the official website for Mount Fuji climbing warns.

Mount Fuji donned its first snowcap of the season on Oct. 22, 22 days later than usual and 26 days later than last year, according to the local meteorological office in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture.

As of Wednesday evening, anyone with internet access could still view the man’s video on Niconico or YouTube, where it appears to have been uploaded by other individuals.

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