Dense plumes rise from the summit crater of Mt. Ontake shortly after the volcanic mountain erupts in central Japan, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.(Photo: AP Photo/Kyodo News)
TOKYO — A Japanese police official says rescuers have found more than 30 unconscious bodies believed to be dead near the peak of an erupting volcano.
The victims have been described as not breathing and their hearts have stopped, which is the customary way for Japanese authorities to describe a body until police doctors can examine it.
The official from Nagano prefecture police says details of where the bodies were found Sunday, and their identities were not immediately known.
Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted shortly before noon Saturday, spewing white plumes of gas and ash high into the sky and blanketing the surrounding area in ash. About 250 people were initially trapped on the slopes, but most made their way down by Saturday night.