Three elderly Japanese tourists died after being trapped in sudden heavy snowstorms during a visit to the Great Wall of China, state media reported Monday.
Two women, aged 62 and 68, and a 76-year-old Japanese man were confirmed dead after they were caught by a snowstorm on a mountain near the wall in China's northern Hebei province, according to a local government statement cited by Xinhua news agency.
Another Japanese tourist, 59, and a Chinese man who works for a Japanese tour agency were receiving medical treatment at a local clinic, Xinhua added.
The group started to climb the mountain from the Beijing side as part of a tour of the Great Wall on Saturday morning.
They were trapped overnight on Saturday after reaching a mountainous region in Huailai county in the neighboring province of Hebei, the statement said.
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Japan was working with China. "We are grateful for the Chinese cooperation," he told reporters.
Heavy snowstorms swept across northern China over the weekend, with the most extreme weather hitting Beijing, Hebei and the northern Inner Mongolia region on Saturday night.
Beijing was forced to issue its second-highest blizzard alert on Sunday after the Chinese capital was hit by an unusually early snowstorm.
In the 24 hours until Sunday morning the city saw 5.8 centimeters of precipitation -- rain and snow combined, Xinhua said.
Hundreds of cars were stuck in the snow across China's capital over the weekend.
Authorities activated Beijing's public heating ahead of the planned Nov 15 date, the state-run China Daily said.© Japan Today