Four die on Mount Fuji ahead of climbing season: Japan's NHK

By AFP   June 26, 2024 | 06:59 pm PT
Four die on Mount Fuji ahead of climbing season: Japan's NHK
Visitors are seen at the fifth stage on the slopes of Mount Fuji, Japan's highest mountain at 3,776 meters in Fujiyoshida, Japan, Sept. 9, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Four bodies were recovered near the summit of Mount Fuji, Japanese media reported Wednesday, days before the summer climbing season begins.

Authorities have long warned climbers to take care when attempting to scale Japan's highest mountain, where hiking trails officially open on Monday.

The bodies of three people were found near the volcano's crater as rescuers searched for a Tokyo resident who did not come home after he climbed the mountain, national broadcaster NHK said.

The man had snapped photos from the summit and sent them to his family on Sunday, it said.

NHK also said the identities of the three bodies had yet to be confirmed.

Another climber called police from a trail near the summit on Wednesday and reported his companion had become ill and lost consciousness, NHK said.

The person was taken to a hospital in the area, where his death was confirmed, it said.

Local police could not immediately confirm the report to AFP.

Mount Fuji is covered in snow most of the year but more than 220,000 visitors trudge up its steep, rocky slopes during the July-September hiking season.

Many climb through the night to see the sunrise and some attempt to reach the 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) summit without breaks, becoming sick or injured as a result.

Regional officials have raised safety and environmental concerns linked to overcrowding on the mountain, which is a symbol of Japan and a once-peaceful pilgrimage site.

Hikers using the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji -- the Yoshida trail -- will be charged 2,000 yen ($13) each this summer and entries capped at 4,000 for the first time to ease congestion.

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