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Three Snowboarders Lost

The family of one of three young New Zealanders skiers buried in a Japanese avalanche were planning to visit Japan to see what attempts were made to rescue the three.

Chris Coaster, a 25-year-old Aucklander, Craig Neville Mowat, 25, a former Cardrona skifield worker of Wanaka, and James Winton Alexander Gordon,18, a former fencer of Dannevirke went missing in a dangerous mountain area of Nagano on Saturday afternoon when they were enveloped by a wave of snow and ice.

The family of missing man James Gordon are flying to Japan this afternoon to get a better idea what has been done to rescue Gordon and his two companions who were all experienced snow-boarders.

The three were believed to have ignored signs in both English and Japanese warning skiers of the avalanche danger. Three other companions an Australian a Canadian and a Japanese managed to ride out the 1 kilometre wide wave and raise the alarm.

Rescuers efforts have been hampered in the past few days because of bad weather and freexing conditions, however they are expected to go out today to dig for the victims.

There is a chance the three may have survived for the last two nights if they were in a snow cave to keep themselves warm. But experts say their chances of survival are reduced significantly with each passing day.

All three had been working in hotels and lodges at the Happoone Ski Resort in Hakuba.

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