An avalanche occurred on the Kutchan town side of Mt Yotei near Niseko in Hokkaido Japan around 10.00am on Monday March 11, killing two foreign nationals.

The victims, from New Zealand, include an experienced backcountry male skier in his 30s and 21 year old Isabella Bolton. The British born skier grew up in the Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island and worked in the ski fields of both New Zealand and Canada before working this season in Japan.

The Kutchan Police Department received an emergency call at 11.00am reporting an avalanche on a northern slope. Three people out of a skiing and snowboarding party of six people were caught, with the two victims taken to hospital unresponsive.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed two Kiwis were killed and said “The New Zealand Embassy has offered consular support to the families of those involved.”

Temperatures were reported at 2 degrees warmer than average for this time of year.

The avalanche happened mid-mountain and avalanche danger was considered fair to moderate.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

We need to talk about avalanches in Japan, yes they do happen