Hokkaido police said yesterday that eight people were recorded to have perished as a result of the heavy snowfall over the weekend. A mother and her 3 children died of carbon monoxide poisoning after being trapped in the car, while the other four victims died after being frozen to death in the streets.
In Nakashibetsu, in the northeastern part of Hokkaido, 40-year-old mother Kazuyo Miyashita and her children 17-year-old Misa, 14-year-old Sayo and 11-year-old Daiki lost their lives through carbon monoxide poisoning when the snow covered their car’s exhaust pipe and windows, filling the car with toxic fumes. A nearby resident noticed the car at around 7:10 p.m. on Saturday and called the police. Unfortunately, it took two hours to dig through 2 meters of snow to get the car; by then, it was too late. Also in the same town, 23-year-old Haruna Kitagawa was found frozen, collapsed on the ground of a farmland, by the police on Sunday. It was believed that he abandoned his car and tried to get out of the snow.
53-year-old Mikio Okada and his 9-year-old daughter, Natsune, went missing in Tubetsu after leaving home on Saturday afternoon. Their truck was discovered during the evening, but the two were found on Sunday morning already, after they also left their vehicle. Mikio died in the hospital, but Natsune survived. In the cities of Abashiri and Furano, the bodies of 54-year-old Satoshi Imai and 76-year-old Toru Sasaki, respectively, were also discovered after they abandoned their cars after being trapped in the snow.