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Avalanche kills American man in backcountry of Japanese mountains, police say

Tokyo — Police in the city of Myoko, in Japan's central Niigata region, said Wednesday that an American man in his 30s was killed by an avalanche in a backcountry area of Mount Mitahara.

Local police received calls on Wednesday afternoon that three or four people had been caught in an avalanche in the area. According to Myoko city police, there were three others — New Zealand, Scottish and Japanese nationals — with the U.S. man when the snow came cascading down the mountain.

The police later identified the victim as U.S. national Stuart Remick, who lived in Japan's Nagano prefecture. The Myoko police said Remick and the other men had been skiing and snowboarding in the area when the avalanche struck. 

The other three men were rescued without injuries, the police said.

Trees in the snow and Myoko mountain range, Niigata Prefecture
A file photo shows the Mount Myoko mountain range in Japan's central Niigata Prefecture. S. Akiyama/Aflo/Getty/iStock

Local news reports said the men were lifted off the mountain by a Niigata prefectural police helicopter, including the Remick, who was unconscious at the time. He was rushed to a hospital but later pronounced dead.

Mount Mitahara and the neighboring peak Mount Myoko are popular with backcountry skiiers and snowboarders.

The accident comes about one year after American world champion halfpipe skier Kyle Smaine and another skier were killed by an avalanche in the mountains of central Japan. Police in Nagano Prefecture said the two were among five foreign skiers caught by the avalanche on the eastern slope of Mount Hakuba Norikura, where the group was backcountry skiing.

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