PHOTO: The avalanche occurred after a night of heavy snowfall. (Photo via Flickr/Nicolas Vigier)
At least eight people were killed in an avalanche at a Japanese ski resort Monday, CNN reported.
Seven students and one teacher were among the victims at Nasu Onsen Family Ski Area, where members of a local mountaineering club were taking part in a three-day training exercise.
Forty other people were injured in the avalanche, with two people sustaining serious injuries.
The incident occurred at 9:20 a.m. local time Monday (8:20 p.m. ET Sunday) near the resort located roughly 100 miles north of Tokyo in wake of heavy snowfall. Citing data from the Japan Meteorological Agency, NBC News reported more than a foot of snow fell in the Nasu Highlands between midnight and 9 a.m. Monday.
"We had heavy snow, that condensed [with the warmer weather], and then once you have somebody on top of that, that creates a trigger," NHK World meteorologist Robert Speta told the Guardian. "These are all a recipe for avalanche creation."
The inclement weather slowed rescuers and an avalanche advisory warning remains in effect across the region with more snow expected into Tuesday.
According to its website, the ski resort, which is situated on the eastern slopes of Mt. Nasu, closed for the season on March 20.
The Guardian reported that Japan's Self-Defense Forces have been asked to assist in the rescue and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the response to the disaster would be considered a top priority.