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article imageVolcanic ash cloud engulfs Mount Ontake hikers, more than 30 dead

By Greta McClain     Sep 28, 2014 in World
Otaki - Dramatic footage shows the enormous volcanic ash cloud as it descends down Mount Ontake, engulfing hikers as they attempt to flee. Japanese officials have confirmed more than 30 hikers have been found in "cardiac arrest" and presumed dead.
The footage was captured by a group of hikers near the summit of Mount Ontake. The mountain is a popular hiking destination for locals during the fall. It is estimated that a few hundred hikers were trapped on the mountain after the volcano erupted around noon local time on Saturday. One woman told reporters:
“It was like thunder. I heard boom, boom, then everything went dark.”
According to CNN, officials with the Nagano police department confirmed that more than 30 people were found in "cardiac arrest," a term commonly used to describe someone who is not breathing and has no pulse but has not officially been declared deceased by a doctor.
The Japan Times reports that seven climbers who were found responsive have been evacuated from the summit by a Self-Defense Forces helicopter. In raw footage captured by Sky New, rescuers are seen airlifting climbers off of the mountain.
Japan's Cabinet Office told NHK World that 230 people had made it safely off the mountain as of Saturday evening. As of 11:30 a.m. Sunday, 550 police, firefighters, and Self-Defense Force personnel were conducting rescue operations near the mountain's summit.
Shinichi Shimohara was at the foot of the mountain when the volcano erupted. He recalls hearing what sounded like the rush of strong winds, followed by "thunder." Not long afterwards, he began seeing climbers quickly descending the mountain, saying:
"For a while I heard thunder pounding a number of times. Soon after, some climbers started descending. They were all covered with ash, completely white. I thought to myself, this must be really serious."
More about Volcano, Japan, Mt Ontake, Volcanic ash cloud, Hikers
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