A district court on Thursday sentenced three people to two years in prison over deaths caused by an avalanche during a school training program in Tochigi Prefecture in 2017.

Presiding Judge Toshifumi Takioka at Utsunomiya District Court found the three defendants guilty of professional negligence resulting in death and injury after eight people, mostly students from the Tochigi Prefectural Otawara High School mountaineering club, died in the avalanche during hiking training in the Tochigi Prefecture town of Nasu.

Prosecutors had sought four-year prison sentences for all three people, who played major roles in the training program as teachers.