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Death Toll from Japan Volcano Rises to 47

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Volcanic smoke rise from Mt. Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan, September 30, 2014.
Volcanic smoke rise from Mt. Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan, September 30, 2014.

Authorities in central Japan say 47 people are now confirmed to have died from the deadliest volcanic eruption in post-war Japan. Police earlier said the number of dead was 48, but later corrected the figure.

Authorities in Nagano prefecture believe all of the known victims have been recovered after the surprise eruption of Mount Ontake, which occurred Saturday.

Most of the bodies of hikers have been found near the summit where a shrine attracts visitors. The remains of others were discovered at a slightly lower elevation where there is little place to hide.

Hundreds of survivors were trapped on the mountain until Saturday evening, many of them having suffered serious cuts, bruises and bone fractures.

Toxic fumes and the threat of further eruptions complicated search and rescue efforts. Searchers wore surgical masks and helmets and carried devices to measure the toxicity of the gases on the mountain.

Mt. 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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