A family of four Australians spent the night in a snow cave just outside the Japanese resort of Nozawa Onsen this Monday. On Tuesday morning around 9, the mother and three sons were rescued by emergency ski patrol who were alerted of the missing persons by a distraught friend. The friend of this Australian family had noticed a distress message on Facebook from the family and notified authorities quickly.
In fact, rescue authorities and the police were alerted by 6 pm Monday night and began searching for the missing family that evening at the resort. The family had accidently ventured into the backcountry over Kenashi mountain just outside of resort boundaries where they dug themselves a snow cave to survive the cold and snow through the evening. With 20 centimeters of snowfall through the night and temperatures well below freezing, the snow cave could very well have been their only hope of survival.
Nozawa Onsen was relieved to report the rescue of this family on Tuesday as it continues to snow and avalanche dangers increase. The resort’s snow report states that due to the ample snowfall it’s not wise to ski above one’s ability or venture off-piste since the snow may be head high in spots.