This mountain is so beautiful, it’s such a pity that I haven’t heard of it before this tragedy. Folks unfamiliar with inhuman personality of Mother Nature may find it hard to imagine that this beauty can be so deadly, spewing rocks, ash and toxic fumes; taking lives without any warning.
Mount Ontake erupted shortly before noon Saturday, spewing large white plumes of gas and ash high into the sky and blanketing the surrounding area in ash. The mountain is a popular climbing destination, and at least 250 people were initially trapped on the slopes, though most made their way down by Saturday night.
An estimated 40 people, possibly more, who were stranded on the mountain overnight came down on Sunday. Many were injured, and some had to be rescued by helicopters or carried down on stretchers. By nightfall, all the injured had been brought down, officials said.
Mount Ontake erupted at perhaps the worst possible time, with at least 250 people taking advantage of a beautiful fall Saturday to go for a hike.
“Even small eruptions can cause major damage if people are around, as they get hit by rocks that come flying,” Nagoya University volcanologist Koshun Yamaoka said at a news conference Sunday. “And the problem is that catching signs of such small eruptions is difficult.”