Exhausted survivors told yesterday (Tuesday, March 21)of raging blizzards, biting cold and sudden avalanches that claimed the lives of at least 21 mountaineers on Japan's sacred Mount Fuji.
GV Rescue workers carrying body on sledge
SCU Body on sledge being carried down mountain
SV Rescue workers
GV Rescue workers sliding body down hillside
SV Rescuers digging body out of snow and ice
SV Rescuers load body onto sledge
GV Rescuers walking up hillside and down hillside on sledge (2 shots)
SCU Relative weeps over dead body
GV EXT. ZENRGU-Ji temple
SV PAN coffins lying at rest
GV & CU mourners weep over coffins
SCU Climbing equipment of dead climbers
GV & SV Mourners weep over coffin (3 shots)
Initials OS/1252 OS/1408
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Background: Exhausted survivors told yesterday (Tuesday, March 21)of raging blizzards, biting cold and sudden avalanches that claimed the lives of at least 21 mountaineers on Japan's sacred Mount Fuji.
Rescuers stumbled through fog and snow to find the bodies -- but they held little hope of survival for another two people still missing after snowstorms hit the extinct volcano on Monday (March 20).
About 60 climbers and 20 skiers were on Mount Fuji when gales and snowstorms suddenly ripped away flimsy tents on the exposed slopes. Survivors of one group of nine climbers training for a Himalayan expedition described how they tried to find shelter from winds of up to 140 kilometres (87 miles) an hour.
The 18 dead included two women with a third young girl among the missing two climbers. The search is to resume today (Wednesday, 22 March) with 400 police, firemen and soldiers taking part in the rescue action.
The disaster was believed to be the worst civilian climbing tragedy recorded in Japan. Fifteen mountaineers died there in an avalanche in 1954 and another 11 died six years later.
SYNOPSIS: On the fog-bound slopes of Mount Fuji -- one of the worst Japanese mountaineering disasters on record. Sudden blizzards, biting cold and avalanches claimed the lives of at least twenty-one clambers -- and another two were still missing.
About sightly climbers were on the extinct volcano when winds of nearly ninety miles-an-hour ripped their tents from the exposed slopes. The mountain, admired universally for its symmetry and beauty, is more than twelve thousand feet high.
Rescue workers held little hope for the two missing climbers. Among them was a young girl. There were also two women among the eighteen dead. One group of mountaineers was training for a Himalayar expedition and leaders described how thre??? of their party died from the cold and exhaustion. Fifteen mountaineers died on Mount Fuji in an avalanche in 1954 -- and another six were killed here six years later.
The bodies of the climbers were taken to the Zenrgu-ji temple at Gotenba, at the foot of the mountain.
The disaster was believed to be the worst civilian climbing tragedy ever recorded in Japan.
Later, rescue workers examined the equipment of the dead climbers before resuming the search, in which some 400 police, firemen and soldiers took part.
But for the relatives of those already found, grief was the only emotion left -- perhaps, even greater awe for mountain that has been considered sacred in Japan for centuries.