4 die near mountain trail after distress call in eastern Japan

Four elderly hikers, two men and two women, were found dead Saturday morning near a trail on Mt. Asahi in Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, following a distress call the previous day, police said.

A search party spotted the four and confirmed their deaths at the scene, after local police received a call at around 12:20 p.m. on Friday, saying one of the party could not move due to hypothermia.

The four, believed to be in their 60s and 70s, are likely to have lost their way on the 1,896-meter peak in the town of Nasu, the police said.

According to the police, shortly after the initial distress call, they received a second emergency call from another hiker reporting that several people had fallen and could not move while one person had been “pulled up” after a fall.

The police dispatched a rescue team toward the mountain but were forced to suspend operations at sunset due to inclement weather conditions such as gusty winds, fearing a potential second accident.

The rescue team resumed its search at 6 a.m. Saturday and found the four in three locations from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

There were signs one of the women had fallen, the police added.

Source KYODO