A video uploaded to Youtube shows the chaos first-hand as hikers frantically try to make it down the slopes following the unexpected explosion of ash and debris. In the video, you see a group of hikers scaling down the mountain just after the eruption. You can watch as a large grey cloud of ash expands into the air and towards the fleeing group of hikers. The video shows the first-person encounter from the time of explosion until the ash overtakes the group. At the end of the video, you can clearly see that the group is covered in thick layers of ash.
Following the eruption, large rescue efforts are underway with over 500 firefighters, police and military personnel responding to the trails. Rescue efforts have also been hampered due to the fact that the volcano is still erupting. Ash and debris continue to spew from Mount Ontake as safety teams work through the trails.
Volcanoes erupt periodically in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active nations, but there have been no fatalities since 1991, when 43 people died in a pyroclastic flow (a superheated current of gas and rock) at Mount Unzen in southwestern Japan. This makes the Mount Ontake the first volcano to cause a fatality in Japan in over 2o years.