Japan volcano dead found crushed between boulders: report
Rescuers searching the volcano that erupted without warning in Japan found dead hikers wedged between huge rocks and people half buried in ash, it emerged on Thursday.
At least 47 people are now known to have died in Japan’s worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years.
But up to 24 are still missing, with fears some could be entombed in the thick, sticky ash that has coated the peak since Saturday’s eruption.
Heavy rain forced police, troops and firefighters to abandon their search of Mount Ontake on Thursday.
The 3,067m mountain is still billowing steam and toxic gas.
Police rescuers found ash 40 to 50cm deep at a shrine on the peak when they first arrived, with some of those killed found collapsed and half-buried, the Mainichi newspaper reported.
Five bodies were stuck in between jagged boulders up to three metres across.
Emergency workers had to smash using specialist rock-breaking tools to free them, the paper said.
Another rescuer told the Nikkan Sports daily that moving around on the bed of ash was difficult because of the way it had mixed with steam.
“It sticks like damp concrete,” he said.