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Mount Ontake eruption: More than 30 believed dead near volcano

A Japanese police official says rescuers have found more than 30 unconscious bodies believed to be dead near the peak of an erupting volcano.

Military helicopters attempting to rescue remaining survivors

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      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 were not clear, and their identities were not immediately known.

      Smokes rises from Mount Ontake after the volcano erupted Saturday. (Kyodo/Reuters)
      Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted shortly before noon Saturday, spewing large 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.

      Keita Ushimaru, an official in nearby Kiso town, said that Nagano prefecture crisis management officials had informed the town that at four people were being brought down with heart and lung failures, and that there were others in the same condition.

      Rescue workers were also trying to bring down the injured who were stranded on the mountain overnight. Military helicopters plucked seven people off the mountainside earlier Sunday, and workers on foot were also helping others make their way down.

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