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3 climbers freeze to death on Mt. Yatsugatake in Nagano Pref.+
[March 20, 2006]

3 climbers freeze to death on Mt. Yatsugatake in Nagano Pref.+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)NAGANO, Japan, March 20_(Kyodo) _ Three climbers were found frozen to death Monday on Mt. Yatsugatake in Nagano Prefecture, police said.

The three -- Hisatoshi Nagakura, 57, from Tokyo's Koto Ward, Yoshio Takeuchi, 47, from Yokohama, and Midori Mogi, 45, from Tokyo's Itabashi Ward -- contacted their climber group in Tokyo on Sunday afternoon saying they could not move because of frostbite.

A helicopter mobilized by the Nagano prefectural police found the three lying on a slope in the 2,805-meter Amida valley of Mt. Yatsugatake but their hearts and lungs already stopped functioning.

The three arrived at the mountain Saturday on a two-day trip, according to their families and the climbing group.

On another mountain in Niigata Prefecture, a climber went missing Monday morning. But police gave up the search for the climber due to bad weather Monday evening, planning to resume the search Tuesday morning.

A group of five men and four women, aged between 54 and 63, had been climbing the 2,026-meter Mt. Sennokura in the Tanigawa range. One of them is missing while another is in critical condition. The seven others are safe, according to the group's leader.

A Niigata police helicopter found some of the climbers Monday afternoon but could not rescue them because of turbulence swirling around the area, the police said.

In a separate incident in Gunma Prefecture, three men climbing to the 1,974-meter Ichinokura valley in the Tanigawa range in the town of Minakami asked for rescue Monday afternoon as they could not climb down due to bad weather, according to the Gunma prefectural police.

They have been contacted via mobile phones and have enough food and equipment but cannot dig a hole for a bivouac because the slope is too steep, the police said.

The police suspended the search at sunset, planning to resume it Tuesday morning.

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