Soldier Killed as Volcano in Japan Erupted

alala_p [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

One Japanese soldier was killed when a volcano erupted in Japan. The eruption triggered an avalanche and sent rocks raining down on an area that is estimated to be as wide as one kilometre.

Rescue services said that at least 11 people were injured. Some of them are in critical conditions.

according to Itsunori Onodera, the Defence Minister, six of those who were trapped were members of the Ground Self Defence Force (SDF) of Japan.

The Defence Ministry said that all were rescued. However, most of them were injured and one of them unfortunately died later.

For some time, one person was trapped in the avalanche before the rescuers were able to dig him free.

NHK, the national broadcaster, said that at least 17 people were injured, with many of them apparently hit by the volcanic rocks.

“There was this huge boom, and a big plume of totally black smoke rose up,” a skier informed reporters. “I had absolutely no idea what had happened.”

A witness informed the agency that they were evacuated within 30 minutes of spotting some smoke rise from the top of the mountain.

Kusatsu-Shirane is a 2,160-metre (7,090 foot) volcano. the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said that it erupted on Tuesday morning.

The agency warned that further eruptions could not be likely ruled out and some rocks could be thrown as far as 2 km (1 mile) from the peak of the volcano.

Video recording from the resort showed some skiers travelling down the slopes as some black stones fall from the sky.

The force of the stones falling were sending clouds of white snow upwards. Meanwhile, a thick column of black smoke were drifting up.

Some of those who were injured were hurt by the shattering of the windows of the resort.

On  Tuesday afternoon, around 80 skiers were still waiting to be rescued on the mountain.

It was not clear whether the avalanche was caused by the volcanic activity. However, they happened nearly simultaneously.

The JMA said that the warning level for the peak was heightened to 3, meaning that people should are prohibited to climb the mountain.

Japan has 110 active volcanoes and it monitors 47 of them around the clock.