Three South Korean climbers found dead in Japan Alps

TOKYO, Japan - Three South Korean climbers who went missing during a mountaineering trip in Japan have been found dead, a report said Tuesday.

The trio were among nine people who disappeared near the 2,728-metre (8,950-foot) Mount Hinokio in central Japan on Monday, according to Japanese media.

The male victims were found on mountain paths, the reports said, but few other details were immediately available. It was unclear if torrential rains that lashed Japan over the weekend played a role.

"We found three people early this morning. They were not breathing and their hearts had stopped beating," a local police official told AFP on Tuesday.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency confirmed the trio had died, identifying one of the victims as 78-year-old Park Moon-soo.

"Park's identity has been confirmed," said an official at South Korea's consulate in the Japanese city of Niigata, according to Yonhap.

Four of the nine who disappeared have since been found unharmed, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported, while two others remain missing.

Five climbers - including the three deceased and two still missing - belonged to a South Korean mountaineering club but were individually taking part in a group tour with a total of 20 men and women aged 48 to 78, Yonhap said.