Volcanic smoke rises from Mount Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan on Sept. 27, 2014.
September 27, 2014 11:05 AM EDT

Updated Sept. 28, 9:17am ET

A volcanic eruption at Mount Ontake on Saturday is believed to have killed at least 30 people, after sending massive plumes of ash and stones into the sky.

Rescue workers found around 30 bodies near the mountain’s peak one day after the volcano erupted, the Associated Press reports. All were unconscious and believed to be deceased. Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said earlier that 45 were reported missing.

Up to six inches of ash spewed onto a large area surrounding the 10,120-foot peak in the mountain’s first eruption since 2007, as captured by a YouTube user in the above video.

“It was like thunder,” a woman who runs a lodge near the summit told Japanese broadcaster NHK. “There are 15cm (six inches) of ash on the ground.”

The volcano, which sits on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures to the west of the country’s main island, last erupted in 1979.

[Associated Press]


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