Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ZEN of living on atomic, volcanic faultlines

CC Liu, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; Mari Yamaguchi, Ken Moritsugu, Tokyo (AP)
Volcano post eruption: In Japan firefighters and Japan Self-Defense Forces conduct a rescue search on Mount Ontake, Central Japan, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014 (Associated Press)

Scenes broadcast live on Japanese TV station TBS showed soldiers carrying yellow body bags one-by-one to a camouflage military helicopter that had landed in a relatively wide-open area of the now bleak landscape, its rotors still spinning.

The bodies were flown to a nearby athletic field, its green grass and surrounding forested hills contrasting with Mt. Ontake's ash-gray peak in the background, a reduced plume still emerging from its crater.

The bodies were then taken to a small, two-story wooden elementary school in the nearby town of Kiso, where they were being examined in the gymnasium. Family members of the missing waited at a nearby municipal hall.

More than 200 soldiers and firefighters, including units with gas-detection equipment, were part of the search mission near the peak, said Katsunori Morimoto, an official in the village of Otaki. The effort was halted because of an increase in toxic gas and ash as the volcano continued to spew fumes, he said. "It sounds like there is enormous ashfall up there." More

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