NAGANO, Japan, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- At least 30 people were found dead near the top of Japan's volcano Mount Ontake, which erupted Saturday.
Hundreds of hikers were climbing the volcano when it erupted, sending a dark plume of smoke into the air and ejecting rubble and covering the surrounding area in a thick layer of white ash.
Japanese rescuers reported the hikers were in a state of cardiac and respiratory arrest, meaning signs of life had stopped but they hadn't been officially declared dead by a doctor.
Rising more than 10,062 feet, Mount Ontake is the second highest volcano in Japan and a popular hiking destination, especially in the fall when its elevation offers expansive views of the trees and their turning leaves below.
The volcano lies in the central Chubu region of Japan's main island, about 155 miles west of Tokyo. It last erupted in 2007.