7 students, instructor killed in Japan avalanche while mountaineering

PHOTO: Japan Self-Defense Forces soldiers carry victims after an avalanche hit a group of high school students and teachers climbing near a ski resort, north of Tokyo, Japan, March 27, 2017. PlayKyodo/via Reuters
WATCH 8 Japanese students feared dead after avalanche

Seven high school students and a teacher were killed in an avalanche on Monday while mountain climbing at a ski resort in Japan, according to ABC News partner NHK.

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About 62 students and teachers from seven high schools were in Tochigi Prefecture, about 100 miles north of Tokyo, Japan, when the avalanche hit, the report said.

The eight were found unresponsive after a getting caught in the snow slide at around 8:30 a.m. local time while taking part in 3 days of mountain climbing safety training, the report said.

Tochigi authorities had initially said they believed all eight victims were students.

PHOTO: Rescuers carry people injured in an avalanche near a ski slope north of Tokyo, Japan, March 27, 2017. Kyodo/Newscom
Rescuers carry people injured in an avalanche near a ski slope north of Tokyo, Japan, March 27, 2017.

"A strong wind blew. As soon as I felt it, I also saw something white roaring toward us," a male student who was caught in the slide told NHK in a phone interview.

"Right then, our teacher shouted 'crouch down!' We did, but we were engulfed," said the student, who was not identified by name.

Authorities said 40 others were injured in the accident, with two students sustaining serious injuries, according to NHK.

The weather bureau had previously issued snow and avalanche warnings for the area.

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