Via The Japan Times: Four Mount Ontake climbers confirmed dead after eruption. Excerpt:
OTAKI, NAGANO PREF. – Police confirmed Sunday night the deaths of four of the 31 people found unconscious near the peak of Mount Ontake earlier in the day, one day after the eruption on the Nagano-Gifu prefectural border.
The remaining 27 are all feared to be dead, though officials have yet formally confirmed the deaths of any of them.
The 31 were found in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest when rescue operations resumed Sunday morning. At least another 40 people were injured during Saturday’s sudden eruption.
Facing poisonous gases and fearing another eruption, rescue workers were able to transport just four of the 31 victims to the foot of the mountain by Sunday night. The four were officially pronounced dead when they arrived at the bottom of the mountain.
About 10 of the 31 victims were found lying near the spot where smoke was billowing out of the side of the volcano and could not be rescued.
Additional search and rescue operations will be resumed Monday morning.
The victims had been climbing the volcano when it erupted just before midday Saturday.
Hundreds of people, including children, were stranded on the mountain after it erupted without warning, sending ash cascading down its slope for more than 3 km. Most of them made their way down the mountain on Saturday evening.
According to the Meteorological Agency, the eruption was still continuing as of Sunday night. The government the same day maintained the alert level at 3 on a scale to five, meaning climbers were prohibited from approaching the mountain.
When the 3,067-meter Mount Ontake erupted, it sent smoke plumes extending up to 10 km high, and smaller eruptions continued overnight.