Tochigi Ski Resort hit by Tragedy: Children Perish in Nasu after Avalanche in Japan
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
A tragic avalanche in Tochigi Prefecture killed seven high school students and one teacher in Nasu. It is known that at least 40 people were injured when the avalanche struck in the early morning. Therefore, with all deaths being linked to the Otawara High School then this school and the entire community is in deep mourning.
The local police stressed that the weather conditions were horrendous. Hence, avalanche warnings were placed into effect in the area struck by a brutal avalanche. This was based on over 30 centimeters of snow falling in the early morning and other factors related to brutal weather conditions.
Indeed, with the Nasu mountain range being gripped by snowstorms then initial rescue attempts were hampered. For example, helicopters sent to help had great difficulty because of the harsh weather conditions.
Not surprisingly, the local police are looking into possible negligence after the disaster struck the mountain range of Nasu. Apparently, teachers from seven schools were guiding 51 students who belonged to mountaineering clubs.
Teachers in charge of the event to climb Mount Chausu knew that the prevailing conditions were too harsh to focus on the original target of reaching the top. Yet, rather than giving up, they decided to do trekking in lower areas on the slopes. However, it is believed that some students didn’t participate based on inadequate equipment and issues related to confidence. In hindsight, these students made the appropriate decision – rather than teachers, who ironically were teaching how to avoid avalanches and other areas related to mountaineering in deep snow.
Tears and shock are the immediate emotions because so many perished. Yet, this will be replaced by anger and severe questions. After all, with the avalanche alert being on – and such brutal weather conditions – then it appears that this tragic event was avoidable.
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