Woman in Hokkaido Avalanche Confirmed Dead

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Mt. Yotei is seen in April 2019.

The woman caught in an avalanche in Hokkaido on Friday has been confirmed dead.

According to the Kutchan Police Station and a local fire station, two guides and eight foreign tourists were doing backcountry skiing at Mt. Yotei at the time of the incident. The tourists followed the guides when the woman got off course and was engulfed by the avalanche.

Around 2:25 p.m., local police received an emergency call about the incident from a foreign tourist on the mountain in the town of Kutchan.

A helicopter rescue team from the Hokkaido prefectural police transported the woman to a hospital, where she was confirmed dead.

The accident site was on the 1,898-meter-high mountain’s Hirafu climbing course.

Together with the neighboring town of Niseko, the area forms a ski resort where many foreign tourists visit to ski on good-quality powder snow.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Sapporo Regional Headquarters, Friday’s high temperature in the town of Kutchan was 8 C, equivalent to warm weather typically experienced in early April. Since Thursday, avalanche warnings had been issued in the area.