The Eruption of Japan's Mount Ontake

On Saturday, Japan's Mount Ontake volcano erupted without warning, surprising several hundred nearby hikers. Plumes of volcanic gas and ash overtook the fleeing hikers and buried nearby lodges and outbuildings. Though most of the people on Mount Ontake that day were able to escape. 40 suffered significant injuries and at least 36 bodies have been found so far, according to Japanese authorities. More than 24 bodies remain at the summit, and recovery crews have been unable to return, wary of more activity from Ontake as tremors continue to shake the region.
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1. Climbers descend Mount Ontake as the volcano erupts in central Japan on September 27, 2014, in this photo taken by a climber and released by Kyodo. The volcano erupted on Saturday, killing at least 36 people, officials and media said. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the volcano, 200 km (125 miles) west of Tokyo, erupted just before midday and sent ash pouring down the mountain's south slope for more than 3 km (2 mi). Mandatory credit.




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2. A helicopter (right) flies above mountain lodges covered with volcanic ash near a crater of Mount Ontake billowing steam and ash, on September 27, 2014.




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3. Climbers descend Mount Ontake as volcanic ash falls on September 27, 2014, in this photo taken by a climber and released by Kyodo.




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4. Climbers descend Mount Ontake, fleeing volcanic ash on September 27, 2014.




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5. Dense fumes spew from several vents on the slope of Mount Ontake as the volcano erupts on September 27, 2014.




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6. Japan Ground Self-Defense Force personnel and firefighters climb the ash-covered slope of Mount Ontake to rescue people who have been trapped in the mountaintop lodge during the eruption, one day after the volcano became active in central Japan, on September 28, 2014.




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7. This aerial picture taken on September 28, 2014 shows a helicopter of Japan's Self Defense Force lifting a survivor from volcanic ash-covered slope of Mount Ontake.




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8. Steam and volcanic gases rise from Mount Ontake on September 27, 2014.




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9. A military helicopter hovers above Mount Ontake as it prepares to rescue stranded climbers on September 28, 2014. Military helicopters plucked several people from the Japanese mountainside Sunday after a spectacular volcanic eruption.




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10. Mountain lodges, covered with volcanic ash are seen near a crater of Mount Ontake on September 27, 2014.




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11. Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers run after landing in a helicopter for a rescue operation near the peak of Mount Ontake on September 29, 2014.




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12. Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers and firefighters work among mountain lodges covered with volcanic ash near the peak of Mount Ontake on September 28, 2014.




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13. A hiker is lifted by a rescue helicopter during a rescue operation on Mount Ontake on September 28, 2014.




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14. Soldiers and police officers prepare a rescue operation near the peak of Mount Ontake on September 29, 2014.




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15. JSDF soldiers and firefighters rescue an injured person from an ash-covered mountain lodge on September 28, 2014.




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16. An injured person is lifted by a rescue helicopter from Mount Ontake on September 28, 2014. More than 500 Japanese military and police deployed on Sunday to search the peak of the volcano a day after its sudden eruption trapped hundreds.




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17. Steam and ash rise from a crater atop Mount Ontake on September 29, 2014.




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18. JSDF soldiers and firefighters conduct rescue operations on September 28, 2014.




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19. A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force CH-47 helicopter sits on the ground as Mount Ontake continues to erupt in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, on September 30, 2014. Increased seismic activity raised concern Tuesday about the possibility of another eruption at a Japanese volcano where dozens people were killed, forcing rescuers to suspend plans to try to recover at least two dozen bodies still near the summit.