#AceNewsServices – JAPAN – September 27 – A volcano in central Japan has erupted, sending ash clouds down the mountains’ slope for more than 3 kilometres. At least eight people have been injured and aircraft have been forced to divert to avoid the dangerous area.
The Ontake volcano on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures, 200 kilometers west of Tokyo, started erupting at about 11:53 local time (02:53 GMT), NHK reported, citing Japan’s Meteorological Agency.
NHK released a video showing the volcano spewing thick, gray smoke into the air.
More than 250 people were left stranded near the top of the volcano, police told NHK, adding that one hiker was rescued after being buried in ash near the volcano. He remains unconscious.
“Seven people were slightly injured and one person suffered serious injuries as a result of the eruption,” Makoto Hasegawa of the Nagano prefecture fire department told Reuters.
“Airplanes are diverting their flying routes to avoid the ash cloud,” he added.
A local eyewitness told NHK that small rocks were being hurled into the air along with the ash.
“It was like thunder,” she said. “I heard boom, boom – then everything went dark.”
Japan’s Meteorological Agency declared a level 3 volcano alert on a 1 to 5 scale, which means people are advised to stay away from the mountain. The agency warned that the debris from the volcano could fall as far as 4 kilometers away.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) September 27, 2014
Channel News Asia cited an official of the Nagano prefecture fire department as saying that the casualty numbers may rise as new reports arrive.
— ツイトレンディー (@twtrendy) September 27, 2014
Stratovolcano Ontake (Ontake-san) is the second highest volcano in Japan at 3,067 meters. It is also a popular destination for religious pilgrimages.
It was inactive until 1979, but then it underwent a series of eruptions. The latest was in 2007.
— Joël Legendre Tokyo (@JoelLegendre) September 27, 2014
— あべるん (@avel_yasuda) September 27, 2014
— Vincent C. (@Vince_Tokyo) September 27, 2014
— 早川由紀夫 (@HayakawaYukio) September 27, 2014