Eight backcountry skiers caught in Hokkaido avalanche; French man unconscious

Kyodo, Staff Rerport

Eight people were caught in an avalanche Thursday while backcountry skiing near a resort in Hokkaido, with a French man found unconscious, according to local fire authorities and some Japanese media reports.

One of the eight who managed to get out of the avalanche descended the mountain before making the call from the resort in the village of Shimukappu around 3:50 p.m., they said.

The Asahi Shimbun daily reported that they were skiing in an off-limits area near Tomamu ski resort.

The temperature around the area at the time was 0 C, according to the local meteorological observatory.

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