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4 campers rescued by helicopter from Japan mountain, 1 still missing

Four of five campers who had gone missing on Mount Hyono along the Hyogo-Tottori prefectural border were rescued by helicopter on the afternoon of Dec. 28, Hyogo Prefectural Police announced on the same day.

    One of the all-male camping group apparently could not move, and the search for the fifth man was set to resume on Dec. 29.

    Emergency workers move a man after his rescue by a fire department helicopter from Mount Hyono, in Shiso, Hyogo Prefecture, on Dec. 28, 2021. (Mainichi)

    According to police, the five men set out on a trip on Dec. 25, with plans to spend one night on the 1,510-meter tall mountain. A family member called police at about 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 27 to report the group had not returned on schedule.

    At around 6:30 p.m., one of the missing men called emergency services to say that "it's hard to get down the mountain because of the snow. One of our group can't move, so the rest of us will make our way down."

    Hyogo Prefectural Police and the fire department began searching areas south of the mountain, around the prefectural city of Shiso on the morning of Dec. 28. The four who were descending the mountain were spotted and rescued by helicopter.

    The men, aged from their 30s to their 70s, were work colleagues living in western Japan's Kinki area including the cities of Osaka and Nara. The still missing member of the group is aged 66.

    There was heavy snow in the northern Kinki region including Mount Hyono on Dec. 27. The nearby Banshu Tokura ski resort had recorded 120 centimeters of snow as of the morning of Dec. 28.

    (Japanese original by Nao Goto, Himeji Bureau, and Manabu Matsuda, Asago Local Bureau)

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