July 17, 2009 in Nation/World

Ten mountaineers die in Japan

Associated Press

TOKYO – Ten climbers have died as strong winds and rain struck two mountains in northern Japan, police said today.

Nine died while climbing Mount Tomuraushi on Hokkaido, Japan’s main northern island, said Hokkaido police spokesman Masafumi Yamasaki. Eight of them were part of an 18-member group tour, while the other was climbing alone. A 10th person died on another mountain on Hokkaido, he said.

The weather at the 7,024-foot Tomuraushi peak was bad Thursday, with strong winds and rain, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency.

Yoshiaki Takeda, a local official near Mount Tomuraushi, said it was highly unusual to see such deadly accidents there.

“The mountain has several shelters. We hear sometimes that climbers sprain their ankles. But we are not aware of such a deadly accident taking place at the mountain in the past,” Takeda said.

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