A 35-year-old New Zealand man has died after being engulfed by an avalanche while snowboarding with four others near the Niseko ski resort in Kutchan, Hokkaido.
According to police and local media, the incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Fuji TV reported that the New Zealand man, Sam Kerr, has been in Japan since 2007 where he operated a snowboarding guide and extreme tour business at Niseko.
On Saturday, Kerr and four other foreigners were snowboarding in an off-limits area, despite warning signs having been posted about the danger of avalanches.
Kerr and one other snowboarder were hit by the avalanche which was about 350 meters long and 250 meters wide. The second snowboarder suffered light injuries.
Authorities were able to locate Kerr via a beacon he had on him and dug him out of the snow. He was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest but died before he could be taken to hospital, police said Sunday.
Local officials have warned skiers and snowboarders about the danger of going off-piste.© Japan Today