Japan's Self Defense Force soldiers carry an injured climber from the ash covered top of Mount Ontake at Nagano prefecture, one day after Japan's volcano Ontake erupted in central Japan, Sept. 28, 2014.
AFP/Getty Images
September 29, 2014 7:27 AM EDT

TOKYO — The death toll after a volcano erupted in Japan looked certain to rise to 36 on Monday after rescuers found five more bodies on the ash-covered mountain, police said.

The discovery came just before the 540 emergency service personnel were forced to abandon 10,062-foot Mt. Ontake because of the high level of toxic gases, Nagano Prefectural Police said. It was the first fatal eruption in modern times on Mt. Ontake, which is located 125 miles west of Tokyo. The volcano rained down rocks and hot ash without warning onto hikers.

“I felt a hot wind blast against my back and crouched down to the ground,” one man told NTV…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

Contact us at editors@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories

EDIT POST