Date
16 July 2019
A picture shows a skier emerging to greet rescue personnel after spending a night in a snow hole on a hill in the Tokachi Mountain Range in central Hokkaido in Japan. Photo: Internet
A picture shows a skier emerging to greet rescue personnel after spending a night in a snow hole on a hill in the Tokachi Mountain Range in central Hokkaido in Japan. Photo: Internet

Two HK skiers rescued from Hokkaido mountain

Two Hong Kong men were rescued from a mountain in central Hokkaido in Japan over the weekend after they landed themselves in trouble during a ski expedition. 

The skiers, aged 45 and 57, were rescued from a snow hole early Sunday, about eight hours after they were reported missing the previous night, reports say.

They were said to be in conscious state when they were found. One of them was airlifted to a nearby hospital after he showed signs of weakness.

According to Japanese media, the two Hongkongers stayed in an inn in Kamifurano during a ski trip. They left the inn on Saturday for skiing on one of the hills in the Tokachi Mountain Range.

During the trip, one of persons was said to have suffered damage to his skiing equipment after which the pair found themselves stranded on the icy mountain.

As night fell, they burrowed a hole in the snow and dug themselves in to protect themselves from the elements.

When the skiers did not return to their lodgings, staff at the inn feared their guests might have met with an accident on the mountain range, and called the local police at around 11 pm.

A search was launched soon afterwards, with a number of police officers and firefighters, as well as a helicopter, roped in for the mission. 

But it was not until 7.40 am the next day that the missing pair was found, sheltered in a hole they had dug themselves on the mountain, at an altitude of 1,866 meters, reports said, citing local Japanese authorities.

The rescuers were able to narrow their area of search as the Hong Kong duo had posted pictures on a social media platform the previous day, informing their friends of the ski trip.

Hong Kong’s s Immigration Department said it did not receive any request for assistance over the case as of Sunday night.

Having been alerted to the news reports, the department said it got in touch with the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong and the Chinese consulate-general in Sapporo in a bid to get details of the incident in Japan.

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TL/JC/RC

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