SHIZUOKA (TR) – An 18-year-old male university student hiking up Mount Fuji died in a fall near the 3,776-meter summit while a member of his group remains missing, Shizuoka Prefectural Police said on Sunday, reports NHK (Nov. 20).
At around 10 a.m. on Sunday, Ibuki Suemoto, an 18-year-old university student in Hikari City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, telephoned emergency services with his mobile phone to report that he had fallen near the 9th Station of a trail, located at an elevation of 3,600 meters, and suffered a bone fracture in his foot.
At around 5:00 p.m., a rescue team discovered Suemoto’s unconscious body near the 7th Station. He is believed to have fallen again after making the emergency call. He was confirmed dead on Sunday night.
Another member of the group, Katsutoshi Watanabe, a 64-year-old from Hiroshima Prefecture, also fell on the mountain. He is currently missing. A rescue team consisting of 15 persons was scheduled to resume the search for him at 6:30 a.m. on Monday.
Suemoto and Watanabe are among a six-person group from Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures that set out for the summit from Yamanashi Prefecture at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. The other members of the group returned safely.
On Sunday, snow and ice were recorded near the summit with the temperature reaching as low as minus 9.3 degrees Centigrade, according to Fuji News Network (Nov. 21).