By TOMONORI ASADA/ Staff Writer
August 16, 2022 at 17:59 JST
The Omine mountain range, comprising mountains including Mount Misen in Nara Prefecture, is seen from the summit of Mount Hidegadake in 2017. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
TENKAWA, Nara Prefecture--Two women in their 60s who became lost in the fog on Mount Misen were found safe after surviving 10 days in the wilderness on a little snack food and water from a stream.
Prefectural police announced their rescue on Aug. 14, after one of the women was able to hike to a location where she could call for help on her cellphone.
They reportedly suffered only minor scrapes and their lives were not in danger.
The 61-year-old woman from Nagoya and 69-year-old woman from Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, entered the 1,895-meter high Mount Misen on Aug. 4.
Police said the two submitted a climbing notification to Tenkawa village, planning to spend one night and two days on the mountain.
The notification showed that they entered the mountain around noon on Aug. 4 and stayed at a lodge. The next day, they left around 8 a.m. and planned to stay at a guest house in the village that night.
However, they had not arrived at the guest house as night fell. The proprietor reported the missing women to police.
Nara prefectural police and fire department began a search on Aug. 6. They continued the search for five days but were unable to find them. They then called off the search.
At around 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 13, police received a cellphone call from one of the two women, saying, “I’m on a mountain ridge.”
Police pinpointed her whereabouts with GPS and resumed the search in the early morning of Aug. 14.
At around 6:30 a.m., they found the woman approximately six kilometers south of the Tenkawa village office and rescued her by a prefectural helicopter.
Around three hours later, police searching near the area found the other woman and rescued her by helicopter.
The Nagoya woman in an interview said they lost their way in the fog on the way down the mountain after leaving the lodge.
They found a location with a roof to take shelter under. They lit a fire and waited for help there, she said.
They stayed hydrated with water from a stream and little by little ate the biscuits and chocolates they had brought with them.
But their remaining food started running low.
The Nagoya woman began walking at around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, while the other woman stayed behind because of exhaustion.
Relying on a map and compass on her smartphone, she headed northward where the village office is located.
When she reached a site where she could get cellphone reception, she called the emergency 110 number. Her smartphone battery level was down to 20 percent.
“I feel bad about causing trouble to a lot of people,” the Nagoya woman said. “I should have had the courage to turn back along the way.”
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