Volcanic tremors force suspension of rescue operation after eruption, avalanche at Japan ski resort

Volcanic tremors force suspension of rescue operation after eruption, avalanche at Japan ski resort

Volcanic tremors force suspension of rescue operation after eruption, avalanche at Japan ski resort

Updated 24 January 2018, 20:00 AEDT

Efforts to rescue victims of a deadly eruption and avalanche at a Japanese ski resort are delayed after further volcanic tremors at the site.

Volcanic tremors have forced rescuers to suspend their search for victims of a deadly eruption and avalanche at a central Japanese ski resort.

The eruption near the Kusatsu ski resort killed one person and injured 11 others.

The man who died was a Japanese Ground Self Defence Force officer taking part in ski training.

At the same time, volcanic rock that blasted out of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane slammed into the mountain with such force it blasted through the roof of one gondola.

Many of the injuries were caused by falling rocks, some of which were estimated to be 30 centimetres in diameter.

An Australian family was at the mountain as the volcano erupted.

"I felt quite scared that it could trigger an avalanche or something which is what happened," Alexander Cicero told local media.

He said he saw Japanese Defence Force officers climbing up the slopes about 10 minutes before the eruption.

"I felt like people were in trouble because there was lots of people going up there shortly before the smoke came along and not too many of them came down," he said.

Rescuers had planned to spend the day looking for people who may have been stuck in the snow near the mountain but had to stop because of tremors.

The search will resume once conditions are declared safe.

Japan's Meteorological Agency warned residents to stay away from the volcano as there was the potential for further eruptions.