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Volcanic Eruption Injures Dozens In Japan

Many are injured and some remain missing after a surprise volcanic eruption in Japan Saturday.

Volcanic Eruption Injures Dozens In Japan
YouTube / Kuroda Terotoshi
SMS

Dozens of people were injured Saturday after a volcano in Japan unexpectedly erupted, but initial reports show details are still hard to come by.

Outlets are reporting more than 250 people, mostly hikers, were caught in the resulting ash cloud coming from Mount Ontake. Most of those people had managed to make it to the bottom of the mountain later in the day but many people had not yet come down due to injuries.

Some outlets initially reported one woman had died on the mountainside, but NHK reports officials have yet to confirm that.

Reports on the number of people who remain missing and the number who sustained injuries are inconsistent. Some are saying approximately 30 were injured, though others are reporting more than 45 people were hurt.

This video shows hikers scrambling for cover before being engulfed in the ash cloud that extended for more than 3 kilometers. The mountain is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts this time of year because of the autumn scenery.

But all those fall colors were covered by white ash, making it look more like winter than fall. 

Hiker Via NHK: "Small pebbles began falling from the sky like hailstorms but they were hot. When the ash hit the ground it was like dust and we couldn't breath."

None of the reports show any actual lava coming from the volcano but some are saying a few people were buried beneath the ash. 

The Japan Times writes this is the first time Mount Ontake has shown activity since 2007 and it's first major eruption since 1979 when it emitted 200,000 tons of ash.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered the military to assist with rescue efforts and all air traffic over the area has been re-routed.