1 dead in volcanic eruption, avalanche in Japan
Tokyo: A soldier died and at least 10 people were injured on Tuesday at a ski resort in central Japan following a volcanic eruption and simultaneous avalanche, authorities said.
At around 10.25 a.m., an eruption of Mount Kusatsu Shirane, located in Gunma Prefecture (north of Tokyo), was registered. It triggered an avalanche at the nearby Kusatsu ski resort, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.
Six Japan Self-Defence Forces members who had been conducting a drill were trapped by the avalanche, Efe news cited the Ministry of Defence as saying. A soldier was killed.
People who had sought refuge in the shelters at the resort or were in ski lifts at the time of the avalanche were wounded by rocks hurled by the eruption. Five of them were in serious condition, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
The JMA detected smoke being emitted by the volcano early on Tuesday and small volcanic tremors but did not activate the eruption alert on time.
The regional government said rocks and other residues spouted by the volcano flew more than one km, causing damages to buildings and cable cars at the resort.
Around 100 skiers were at the resort when the disaster struck. The majority had sought refuge at a building damaged by the avalanche.