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4 Australian family members found after going missing while skiing in Nagano

28 Comments

An Australian family of four, who had been missing at a ski resort in Nagano since Monday afternoon, were found uninjured on Tuesday morning, local police and searchers said.

The four, a woman, 57, who is a doctor, and her sons -- a civil engineer, 25, a company employee, 23, and a university student, 18 -- were found descending a mountain trail at around 8:40 a.m., approximately 15 hours after they went missing, local media reported. The four had been been skiing near the top of the mountain of a ski slope at the Nozawa hot spring resort before becoming unable to descend, due to reasons that have not yet been made clear.

Local police were first informed of the family's disappearance at around 6 p.m. on Monday by representatives of the ski resort. Search operations were conducted last night and were restarted this morning at 7 a.m.

Kyodo reported that one of the group posted on Facebook that they had dug a hole in the snow to keep themselves warm. The family also informed an acquaintance who was at another spot, and that person alerted the resort, according to police.

When found, the four were shivering and showing symptoms of mild hypothermia, but their condition improved soon after eating and warming up, Japanese media reported.

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28 Comments
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Good news!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Did they pay for their mess?

-15 ( +5 / -20 )

I hope they dug in for the night and got a fire going and hope they stay put and get found.

Sounds like they did dig a snow hole. I don't know of many people who carry fire starting gear while they are skiing, except smokers. Maybe that's the one time smoking could save a life. Happy ending anyway.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Pardon me for asking; but isn't it SOP; Standard Operating Procedure for MOST Ski Resorts to have Hand Held Transceivers for this sort of thing? Or some sort of emergency procedure for exactly this reason ?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Good news.

In the initial report in JT John-san wrote: "I hope they dug in for the night and got a fire going and hope they stay put and get found."

Staying put and digging in are what is normally suggested. However, that decision should not be put off too long as the onset of mental confusion due to hypothermia and panic may doom people wandering in such conditions though they are relatively close to safety. And making that decision in a timely manner may be more difficult unless the group has an acknowledged leader who can sustain the group's morale. Was that the woman or one of her sons? JT: please give us a follow-up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of them had a phone. They posted on Facebook their situation and a family member in Australia pick up the post then contacted the ski resort. And Yes They will pay big time, This got the police involve and that triggers recuse reponse independent of the Ski resort recovery team. For the Ski resort recuse team alone it is Y50,000 an hour plus equipment if used. like Helecoppers

5 ( +6 / -1 )

great news

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bill : Mother and two son and another friend of the sons, They were Aussie so moral would of be high, like joking about the situation pay out on the person who got them lost. If you ever notice. Aussie seem to come in teams. Like it very real for a Aussie to travel alone on holidays. With digging in you had all huddle together. say one of them ever 10 minutes leave the huddle and started excising moderately for 10 min to up his or her core temp then back into the huddle, this gives each person a rest for 30 minutes before in there time to excise. I would be doing this until first light. Then listen for the lift to start up and head in that direction. No use waiting around it snow all night no tracks for recuses to follow.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Rescue" insurance is available for people doing mountain climbing and walking in Japan. Same for skiers? I guess they thought they'd never need it. So it is with insurance in general.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Also very typical of the powder-addicted Aussies to go off piste in search of untouched snow even in ridiculous conditions like this. Surprised they could convince the mum to tag along though.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Good to hear that they were found alive and ok.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You can't start a fire with raw wood. Creating a kamakura would have kept them relatively warm inside.Traveling insurance does cover this kind of situation so if they got a subscription they should be fine with the insurance company covering the charge.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Also very typical of the powder-addicted Aussies to go off piste in search of untouched snow even in ridiculous conditions like this.

Coming snowboarding in Japan has become very fashionable in Australia, but the fact is that almost all of them have absolutely no contact or experience in snow in day to day life, apart from when they come here. Very high on stoke and enthusiasm, very low on experience in snow and mountains.

However, these guys have obviously survived by doing something right once they got into trouble. So a good result.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Also very typical of the powder-addicted Aussies to go off piste in search of untouched snow even in ridiculous conditions like this. Surprised they could convince the mum to tag along though. yet many more Japanese go missing in Japans wilderness ill prepared.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

everybody assuming that these tourist dont have travel insurance. Which is more than I can say for Japanese that go missing in the wilderness, wonder if they pay for the mess they create also!? or does it go on the taxpayers bill!?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This got the police involve and that triggers recuse reponse independent of the Ski resort recovery team. For the Ski resort recuse team alone it is Y50,000 an hour plus equipment if used. like Helecoppers

Police helicopters are free, at least here in Hokkaido. Private rescue will cost you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yet many more Japanese go missing in Japans wilderness ill prepared.

Wilderness. Resort. Are these the same thing?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hate it when, after an incident, people start saying things like "they must pay for their rescue".

Some areas are making huge profits from large numbers of tourist visitors. Part of that should be used to provide rescue services.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I can empathize. Went skiing with my 9 yo in Hokkaido last year and a blizzard like snowstorm fired up as are lift dropped us on top of the mountain. Literally no shelter and very difficult to see more than a few feet. Just slowly followed others,,,

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some areas are making huge profits from large numbers of tourist visitors. Part of that should be used to provide rescue services.

Beside the local policy a search party consists of volunteers whom most are enthusiasts not necessarily working in the tourist business. Fuel, food, equipment and other requirements conducting the search come out of the volunteer's pockets.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Also very typical of the powder-addicted Aussies to go off piste in search of untouched snow even in ridiculous conditions like this. Surprised they could convince the mum to tag along though.

Def not oz-specific. All skiers/snowboarders love the feel of fresh/untouched snow that's why many go off-piste whenever they can. If anything, I reckon aussies are more cautious than say north americans or ppl from Alpine regions who ski 6 months/year and are often over confident. Probably more a case of being inexperienced rather than intrepid.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is not an Aussie thing to be reckless and rule bending, as some people here will mistakenly try to state. Kinda sad you connect everything to blood without realizing we are 95% the same.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Great to hear about this. This snowy season has been dangerous in many parts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know the details of this incident but am sure that Nozawa Onsen ski resort is not making vast profits that would cover things like free search and rescue. Some lodges there might make good money, but I bet the lift company doesn't. I doubt they pay most of their ski patrollers much more than 7000 yen a day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@TamaramaJan.

Coming snowboarding in Japan has become very fashionable in Australia, but the fact is that almost all of them have absolutely no contact or experience in snow in day to day life, apart from when they come here. Very high on stoke and enthusiasm, very low on experience in snow and mountains.

I don't know that it's fashionable, so much as affordable compared to the cost of skiing or boarding in Australia. In my experience, Aussie boarders are quite a bit more experienced in the snow than you might think.

Another point to consider here is that, even with a working knowledge of Japanese, there are an alarming number of resorts in Japan with a lax attitude to trail markings and safety precautions that may result in the average tourist being unsure of where the trail continues and what would be considered back country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The four, a woman, 57, who is a doctor, and her sons—a civil engineer, 25, a company employee, 23, and a university student, 18..."

Lots of education there, but little common sense.....maybe this experience at the School of Hard Knocks will compensate for all that book learning!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you get lost in bounds then the rescue is free. If you intentionally go out of bounds, then you pay for the rescue. Seems fair to me. Japanese have to pay, foreigners have to pay. The only ones who dont pay are US service men. Apparently as part of the military agreement with the US, Japan has to cover any rescue operations they incur.

Anyway I love powder as much as any skier/snowboarder. But i am not going to place my life at risk and go out of bounds to get it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was at Nowawa on the weekend. Was dumping snow with very poor viz. Lots of warnings in English over the ski field PA about the perils of going BC. And there were many signs warning that if you went off piste and got into difficulty then you would have to pay for your rescue. Was pretty darn clear to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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