4 bodies have been recovered on Mount Fuji after a missing climber who sent photos from the summit to his family

4 bodies were recovered near the peak Mount FujiJapanese media reported Wednesday, days before the start of the summer climbing season.

Officials have long warned climbers to be careful when attempting to scale Japan’s tallest mountain, which officially opens on Monday.

The bodies of three people were found near the volcano’s crater as rescuers searched for a Tokyo resident who had not returned home after climbing the mountain, national broadcaster NHK reported. The man took photos from the summit and sent them to his family on Sunday.

NHK also said the identities of the three bodies have yet to be confirmed.

Another climber called police from a trail near the summit on Wednesday and reported that his companion had fallen ill and lost consciousness, NHK said.

The man was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Local police could not immediately confirm the report to AFP.

Mount Fuji is covered in snow year-round, but more than 220,000 visitors make their way up its steep, rocky slopes during the July-September hiking season.

Japan's Mount Fuji covered in snow from an airplane
Japan’s Mount Fuji seen from an airplane in March, 2013. At 12,388 feet, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan

Toru Hanai/REUTERS

Many climb through the night to watch the sunrise, and some attempt to reach the 3,776-meter (12,388-ft) summit without a break, resulting in illness or injury.

In 2019, Japanese police found the body of a man on Mount Fuji after falling down a snow-covered slope. Live streaming his climb Up the mountain on YouTube.

Mount Fuji is very crowded

Regional officials have raised safety and environmental concerns The mountain will be crowdedIt is a symbol of Japan and was once a peaceful pilgrimage site.

Thomas Jones, a professor of sustainability and tourism at Japan’s Ritsumeikan University who has studied the mountain since 2008, told CBS News last year that how many tourists visit Fuji — how many are too many — is debatable.

“You have to find a consensus” as to what carrying capacity is, he said, adding, “There’s really no such thing right now. So, there’s not really some sort of concerted effort to limit the number of viewers. .”

Last month, A Blocked Residents complained of streams of mostly foreign visitors littering, trespassing and violating traffic rules at a popular viewing spot of Mount Fuji in the city of Fujikawaguchiko.

Hikers using the Yoshida Trail, the most popular route to climb Mount Fuji, will be charged 2,000 yen ($13) each this summer and up to 4,000 for first-time entries to ease congestion.

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