More than 30 people believed dead at Japanese volcano

Sunday, September 28, 2014
By Paul Martin
September 28, 2014

The bodies of more than 30 people believed to be dead have reportedly been discovered near the summit of an erupting volcano in central Japan.

A police official from Nagano prefecture told the Associated Press that the victims were not breathing and their hearts had stopped, which is the the customary way for Japanese authorities to describe a body until police doctors can examine it. The official added that the exact location where the bodies were found and the identities of the victims were not immediately known. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Nagano prefecture posted on its website that about 30 people had “heart and lung failure.” Keita Ushimaru, an official in nearby Kiso town, said that Nagano crisis management officials had informed local authorities that at least four people with heart and lung failure were being brought down to the town, and that there were others in the same condition. The journey was expected to take about three hours.

Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted shortly before noon local time Saturday, spewing large white plumes of gas and ash high into the sky and blanketing the surrounding area in ash. About 250 people were initially trapped on the slopes, but most made their way down by Saturday night.

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