Trapped Yakushima Hikers Descending On Foot

Trapped Yakushima hikers descending on foot

Hundreds of hikers were stranded on a mountain on Yakushima Island in Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture following torrential rain, and the first group has begun its descent.

The group of 24 hikers was stuck near a crossroads of trails on the mountain. They began walking down with police and rescuers at around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. Others are expected to follow.

Officials say mudslides caused by heavy rain blocked roads on Saturday.

The officials say most of the around 260 hikers stayed overnight around the island's eastern trail, which leads to Jomonsugi, a giant cedar tree that is a popular destination for visitors.

They say there are 13 people in a cottage near the cedar tree. Some of them have sprains or are feeling ill.

Once the hikers have made their way down, officials say they plan to gather them at the local police station to check their health condition.

They say they hope everyone will complete their descent by about 5 p.m., but there are reports of some people unable to walk down.