Volcano eruption sparks avalanche near ski resort in Japan, killing soldier

2018-01-23 09:01
Ash from Mount Kusatsu-Shirane covers near its summit after its eruption in Kusatsu. (Suo Takekuma, Kyodo News via AP)

Ash from Mount Kusatsu-Shirane covers near its summit after its eruption in Kusatsu. (Suo Takekuma, Kyodo News via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - A Japanese soldier was killed on Tuesday after a volcano erupted sparking an avalanche near a popular ski resort north of Tokyo, the defence ministry said.

"One of the six members of the Self Defence Forces (injured in the incident) has died after being caught up in an avalanche" while on a training mission, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

At least 16 people were injured after the volcano erupted near a popular Japanese ski resort, officials said.

Japan's Meteorological Agency urged nearby residents to stay away from Mount Kusatsu Shirane after it detected what it said was "slight volcanic activity".

"Today an eruption occurred" at the mountain, agency official Makoto Saito told a news conference.

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

Thick black smoke

A local fire department official said that 10 people had been injured in the incident.

"Five of them were seriously injured. We began sending the injured to a hospital," he said.

Among the injured were four people hurt by shattered glass while on a ropeway gondola at a ski resort in Gunma, northwest of Tokyo.

The official said an earlier report that one person was missing was not accurate.

The defence ministry said six infantry personnel who had been training on the mountain were also hit by the avalanche but had been rescued.

"They are injured but their injuries are not life-threatening," a ministry spokesperson said.

Footage broadcast on Japanese television showed thick black smoke interspersed with falling rocks sliding down the snow-covered side of the volcano toward a ski slope.

The falling rocks kicked clouds of snow into the air and they made impact.

"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.

"About 100 people have evacuated," he said.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    japan  |  volcanoes

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.