Nasu, Japan – On Monday March 26, 2017 a group of 52 students and 11 teachers from 7 high schools were on an annual 3-day mountaineering field trip at Nasu Onsen Ski Resort in the Tochigi prefecture in Japan when they were struck by an avalanche. Authorities confirmed that 7 Japanese high school students and 1 teacher were killed. Forty others were injured and 2 are in serious condition.
The avalanche accident occurred at approximately 8:30am while the group was practicing climbing through snow as part of their mountain survival training. The training took place instead of a planned climb due to heavy snowfall. The area received 33cm of snow in 8 hours and avalanche warnings were in effect.
Nasu Onsen Family Ski Resort closed last week for the season. The accident took place 500 meters from the hotel at roughly 1300 meters (JapanTimes.co.jp). Authorities were notified at 9:20am. Rescuers responded to the tragic accident, but unfortunately 8 people did not survive.
An investigation will be conducted to see if professional negligence due to extreme conditions played a role in this accident (JapanTimes.co.jp).
We will try to update this post when more information is available.
UPDATE 3/29: The-Japan-News.com noted that the training included a day on how to set up a tent, a day on walking on snow, and a day to clim 1,915 meter Chausudake. That climb was canceled due to the snow and this was the day when the avalanche happened.