Tokyo: Seven school students and a teacher were killed when they were hit by an avalanche on a Japanese ski resort on Monday, local authorities said. More than 60 students and teachers from seven high schools were taking part in a springtime climbing event in Japan’s Tochigi prefecture when the avalanche occurred, the local media reported. The avalanche was believed to have occurred around 9:20 a.m. (local time) on the upper side of one of the slopes at the Nasu Onsen Family Ski Resort. At least 40 persons were injured in the accident, reported Xinhua news agency.
Hours before the accident, the local meteorological agency issued an alert that avalanches were possible, according to reports. Local government authorities asked for the assistance of the Self-Defence Forces to help with relief and rescue operations.
Seven students and a teacher were found with no vital signs after the avalanche. They were sent to a hospital and were confirmed dead on Monday evening. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the disaster in Parliament, saying officials were “making every effort to respond to the disaster”.