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Photographs taken by hikers in the moments before Mount Ontake volcano erupted in Japan last month have been made public by the victims’ families. More than 50 people died in the unexpected eruption on Sept. 27 in the country's deadliest volcanic eruption since World War II.
The victims included construction company employee Izumi Noguchi, 59, who was climbing alone, as his usual hiking companion, his wife Hiromi, had to work, she told Japanese broadcaster NHK and other TV stations. His compact camera was banged up, but the memory chip inside was undamaged. She printed all 100 shots. The last one is of an enormous plume billowing from the crater behind a mountaintop lodge.
"This is an amazing photo. But I wish he had fled instead of taking pictures. I'd rather have him back," Hiromi said. "I hope to hike up there someday, perhaps 10 years later. I want to see what my husband saw."