Tokyo : Volcanic tremors and fears over a fresh eruption forced rescuers with gas masks to halt operations to recover bodies from a Japanese mountain on Tuesday, 72 hours after its eruption, reports AFP.

 Vulcanologists warned of the possibility of another major explosion at the 3,067-metre (10,121-foot) Mount Ontake, noting tremors have become larger.

At least 36 people are known to have died in the eruption, with the bodies of 24 of them still on the volcano. About 60 people suffered injuries. “Ground search operations resumed at 6:20 am but were suspended at 7:05 am due to volcanic tremors,” said a crisis-management official at the Nagano prefectural government.

“Rescue workers started climbing and they are on standby,” he said, adding the exact number of rescue workers on the volcano was not immediately available. A spokesman at the Nagano prefectural police confirmed officers were ready to re-start their search as soon as conditions allow.

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