Japanese man killed by falling rocks after volcano erupts at ski resort

A 49-year-old man has died, and at least 10 others are injured, after a volcano erupted near the popular Japanese ski...

Posted: Jan. 23, 2018 10:02 AM
Updated: Jan. 23, 2018 10:02 AM

A 49-year-old man has died, and at least 10 others are injured, after a volcano erupted near the popular Japanese ski resort of Kusatsu, shooting flaming rocks into the sky.

The eruption of the 2,160 meter (7,090 ft) Kusatsu Shirane volcano occurred at about 10 a.m. local time Tuesday, the Japanese Meteorological Authority (JMA) told reporters.

The man, a member of Japan's Self Defense Force (SDF), was killed by falling volcanic rocks while participating in a training exercises on the mountain at the time of the eruption, the SDF confirmed.

At least 10 other people were injured in the event, the fire department said, including at least three severely. Among the injured were five SDF personnel, said a spokesman for the forces.

Almost 80 others were trapped at the cable car station on top of the Kokusai Ski resort due to a power cut, and were slowly being transported down by firefighters, police and SDF.

Japan is one of the world's most volcanically active nations, sitting on the fault line known as the "Ring of Fire" which stretches around the edge of Pacific Ocean.

A level three alert was issued for the Kusatsu-Shirane volcanic crater by the JMA on Tuesday, indicating residents should not approach the volcano.

The highest level for the authority's warning system is level 5, when residents must evacuate immediately.

An entry ban has been enacted around the crater for two kilometers, and were telling residents to be on the lookout for any fallout from the volcano.

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