Four people were killed in snow-related accidents in Niigata, Yamagata and Hokkaido on Monday and Tuesday.
In one case, a 66-year-old man was found dead in an upright position, buried in snow up to his shoulders next to his home in Shirataka, Yamagata Prefecture, on Monday night. Snow had accumulated nearly one story high, but none remained on the roof of the house which led police to believe that the man had been hit by a large amount of snow that had slid from the top of the roof.
Another case was reported also on Monday in Minamiunuma City, Niigata Prefecture. An 80-year-old man was found buried in a pile of snow in the rear garden of his home. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police said he had apparently fallen from his roof while clearing snow.
A third death occurred in Obihiro City, Hokkaido, at around 3:30 p.m. Monday when a 68-year-old man fell from his roof as he was clearing snow. Police said the man's body slammed into a kerosene tank located next to the house inflicting fatal injuries to his head and other parts of his body.
In the fourth incident, an 85-year-old woman died on Tuesday night after she slipped and hit her head on the roof of her home while she was clearing snow. Police said the woman had tethered herself with a rope but when she slipped and hit her head, she went over the side and was found hanging by a neighbor.
Since early December, Fire and Disaster Management Agency and local police officials have been urging residents in areas where there is heavy snow to exercise caution when clearing snow from the roof and to beware of falling snow, but the death tally keeps rising from such accidents.
In a recent safety film released by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster, researchers show the dangerous force of falling snow. In the video, a large amount of snow is dropped upon a car, leaving cracks and breaks in the vehicles windows, and showing the possible damage such accidents can have on the human body.© Japan Today