9 injured in volcano eruption near Japanese ski resort

Elias Hubbard
January 23, 2018

A volcano eruption near a popular Japanese ski resort sparked an avalanche that injured at least 16 people Tuesday, officials said.

He warned that the volcano could still spew more rocks and ash, and said there was a risk of further avalanches.

Six of those trapped were members of Japan's Ground Self Defence Force (SDF) engaged in training manoeuvres, the Defence Ministry said. "We began sending the injured to a hospital", he said.

Japanese media reported that as many as 15 people were injured, many apparently due to the volcanic rocks.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Mount Kusatsu-Shirane erupted around 10 a.m.

Emergency personnel have been deployed after calls were received from Kusatsu Kokusai Ski Resort saying there was an avalanche.

"Black smoke rose from the top of the mountain and we were told to evacuate inside 30 minutes later", a man who was at the ski resort told public broadcaster NHK.

It was unclear whether the avalanche was caused by the volcanic activity, but they occurred almost simultaneously.

The agency raised its volcanic alert to Level 3 with the warning: "Do not approach the volcano".

One or two of the injured were on a gondola when the window was shattered by volcanic rocks, and the others were believed to have been hit by rocks while on the slopes, said Makoto Shinohara, an official in Kusatsu town. In September 2014, 63 people were killed on Mount Ontake, the worst volcanic disaster in Japan for almost 90 years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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