Live-streamer had climbed Mt. Fuji multiple times, including just one month ago.

On October 28, users of Japanese video-streaming website Niconico were shocked when a young Japanese man who was live-streaming his hike to the top of Mt. Fuji tumbled off of Japan’s highest mountain. With the peak in sight, he started up one of the last sloped sections of the climb, saying “This part is dangerous” literally two seconds before he lost his footing.

▼ A clip from the live stream, starting right before the climber falls.

Someone who was watching the live stream contacted the police, but a helicopter search was unable to locate the man. A 10-person alpine search-and-rescue team was dispatched by the Shizuoka Prefectural Police early the next morning, but after a full day they too were unable to find the live-streamer.

Sadly, on the afternoon of October 30, the police discovered a dead body in the snow near Mt. Fuji’s seventh station. The elevation where the body was found is approximately 3,000 meters (9,842 feet), which would be a 776-meter (2,545-foot) fall from Mt. Fuji’s summit.

The body had been severely damaged, and though the search team was unable to identify the deceased on-site, they strongly suspect it is the missing live-streamer. No identification or phone was found, but the latter point matches with the content of the stream, as the hiker’s smartphone could be seen bouncing away from him as he rolled down the side of the mountain.

The name of the live-streamer has yet to be released, but an examination of his previous Niconico videos showed that he had climbed Fuji multiple times this year, and as recently as September 7. However, this appears to have been his first attempt to scale Mt. Fuji following the official closing of the mountain to hikers on September 10, after which the mountain begins to see frequent snow and other conditions unsafe for hikers.

Examining the live-streamer’s associated Twitter account, police learned that he departed Tokyo by bus at around 8 a.m. on the morning of October 28, bound for one of the mountain’s fifth stations, roughly half-way to the peak and as high up the mountain as travelers can go by car.

While there’s still a chance that the body the search team found is not that of the live-streamer, even that would mean that the man is still missing in the mountains, and also that some other hiker fell and died. Either scenario shows just how dangerous Mt Fuji can be, regardless of how majestic and inviting it may look. The live-streamer’s multiple trips to the top may have given him an inflated sense of confidence that convinced him he’d be OK climbing out of season, but the official period is there for a reason. Not only is hiking once it’s over extremely dangerous, if something does go wrong, the fact that no one else is supposed to be up there means that help is very far away, and might not arrive until it’s too late.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Abema Times via Otakomu, NHK News Web, Mt. Fuji official climbing website
Top image: Pakutaso
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