Avalanche Hits 8 French People in Hokkaido

Society

Sapporo, Jan. 30 (Jiji Press)--An avalanche hit eight French people in the village of Shimukappu in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido on Thursday, possibly leaving one of them in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.

The six men and two women were doing backcountry skiing in a mountain away from a ski area at the Tomamu ski resort when the avalanche struck them around 3:25 p.m. (6:25 a.m. GMT), according to the Hokkaido police department.

While seven of them were able to climb down the mountain themselves and received care, the police and other authorities gave up on saving the male person seen to be suffering from cardiac arrest for the day for fears of a secondary disaster. Local authorities will resume the search mission on Friday morning. The avalanche was believed to be around several meters wide and 50 meters long.

Officials of the company that operates the ski resort said that it had canceled gondola lift operations for entire Thursday due to strong blizzards in the area from the morning.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, northerly wind was blowing in the village from Thursday morning. As of 3 p.m., the wind speed stood at 4.1 meters per second and the temperature at minus 0.2 degree Celsius, with snowfall reaching 35 centimeters.

トマムスキー場付近で雪崩が発生し、現場周辺へ向かう警察官ら=30日夜、北海道占冠村

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Jiji Press