A father froze to death protecting his daughter from a blizzard in Japan. The 9-year-old girl was discovered crying and shivering in her dead father’s arms.
Natsune Okada was reportedly being cared for at her school while her father worked as a fisherman when the storm began. Mikio Okada left work and picked his daughter up from school as the storm intensified. The pair was on their way home when the roads became impassable.
As reported by ABC, the snow on Hokkaido Island was over six feet deep in some areas. Okada reportedly contacted relatives around 4 pm on Saturday after his truck became stuck in the snow. Okada reportedly told the relatives that he and his daughter planned to walk home as they were less than a mile away.
Relatives grew concerned when they did not receive any further contact from Okada. They filed a report with authorities and requested a search for Okada and his young daughter.
The father was frozen to death, clutching his crying daughter in his arms, when authorities responded. The pair was only able to make it 1,000 feet from the truck before the brutal storm made it impossible to continue.
The blizzard, which reportedly had sustained winds of 68 miles per hour, is being blamed for at least nine deaths over the weekend. Of those dead, several were left stranded outside in the harsh elements. The Telegraph reports that the latest death was that of 76-year-old Kuniko Junji who, like Okada, was found frozen to death outside.
Authorities report that Okada had wrapped his daughter in his coat and used his body as a shield to protect her from the brutal wind and snow. Natsune was taken to a local hospital and was found to be stable with no serious health concerns or injuries. Okada was found dead, but was taken to a local hospital to confirm and document the death.
Nine-year-old Natsune is now an orphan. Her father froze to death protecting her from the blizzard, and her mother reportedly passed away several years ago.