Another 2 avalanche victims found by Japan authorities

TOKYO, 30 Jan 2023:

A search and rescue team today found the bodies of two foreign skiers, a day after they went missing in an avalanche on a 2,100m-high mountain in central Japan’s Nagano prefecture.

The two men, an American and an Austrian, were backcountry skiing outside the patrolled areas of the Tsugaike mountain resort in Otari village – along with 11 other people in three groups, all of them foreigners – when the avalanche occurred at around 2:30pm yesterday.

The other 11 skiers descended the mountain safely, nine on foot and two on a snowmobile.

The search for the missing skiers could not be resumed until this morning due to weather conditions and other factors.

Authorities had issued an avalanche warning for the north of Nagano, including the village where the resort is located.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the region had seen heavy snowfall in recent days, with more than 100cm of snow accumulated yesterday.

A 38-year-old man died yesterday in the central Gunma prefecture after being trapped in another avalanche while snowboarding with three of his friends, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported today.

On Saturday, two avalanches occurred at the Nozawa Onsen resort – also located in Nagano – claiming one life, while a German woman died in Kutchan in Hokkaido in mid-January, also after being trapped by an avalanche.