TOKYO (AP) — Thirteen holiday hikers, including Chinese citizens, were rescued Thursday after getting trapped overnight by a late-season snowfall on a Tokyo mountain trail.
Seven who were unable to descend on their own were airlifted off the mountain, Tokyo police and disaster officials said. Japanese television showed some being taken up to helicopters hovering above the snow-covered woods.
Some of those airlifted were injured, including one seriously, though their condition was not life-threatening, officials said. The six others walked down, escorted by rescue workers.
Officials at the Tokyo Medical University Hachioji Medical Center in nearby Hachioji city, where four of the hikers were treated, said a 34-year-old Chinese woman suffered hypothermia and a broken pelvis, while another Chinese hiker, a 34-year-old man, suffered head injuries and hypothermia.
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In a televised news conference, the hospital’s emergency center chief, Takao Arai, quoted the hikers as saying they were shivering in the cold overnight as they waited for rescue. “I believe it was a very harsh environment,” he said.
Japanese media said the hike was organized by a Chinese man and the group requested help from an area fire department Wednesday night. They spent the night on the mountain in the Okutama region, a popular hiking area in far western Tokyo. The group included teens and people in their 40s.
The unexpected snow on Wednesday, a national holiday for the vernal equinox, came days after the start of the cherry blossom season had been announced. It also snowed in parts of central Tokyo, but temperatures were above freezing and there was no accumulation.
Associated Press writer Ken Moritsugu contributed to this report.