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16 Still Missing Following Massive Volcano Eruption in Japan

  • VOA News

Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) soldiers conduct rescue operations near the peak of Mount Ontake, which erupted September 27, 2014 and straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan, in this handout photograph released by the Joint Staff of the Defe

Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) soldiers conduct rescue operations near the peak of Mount Ontake, which erupted September 27, 2014 and straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan, in this handout photograph released by the Joint Staff of the Defe

Japanese officials say 16 people remain missing following Saturday's massive volcanic eruption, the deadliest in the history of postwar Japan.

Rescuers have so far discovered the bodies of 47 people, most of whom died after being hit with rocks when Mount Ontake erupted without warning.

Heavy rain Friday forced officials to suspend the rescue operation, and officials warned that an incoming typhoon could further delay the search.

Typhoon Phanfone, which is featuring wind gusts of up to 250 kilometers per hour, is forecast to make landfall in the region on Sunday.

The recovery operation has already been suspended several times because of ongoing volcanic activity and toxic fumes that continue to spew from the mountain.

Mount Ontake is on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures west of Tokyo, and is known as one of Japan's 100 best mountains for hikers. Its last major eruption was in 1979.

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