Six students feared dead in avalanche in Japan

TOKYO - Six high school students were feared dead on Monday (March 27) after they were engulfed by an avalanche while on a mountain-climbing outing, officials and reports said.

Local authorities and police confirmed that an avalanche had hit early Monday on the mountain in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that six high school students were found with no vital signs.

NHK also said three other students were injured, while three teachers on the excursion could not immediately be contacted.

Tochigi prefectural authorities said about 50 students from seven high schools were on the mountaineering trip.

Television footage showed heavy snow on the mountain. The avalanche occurred in the town of Nasu about 120km north of Tokyo.