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Former F1 driver Katayama rescued from Mount Fuji

Ukyo Katayama in 1997
Ukyo Katayama appeared in almost 100 Grands Prix in the 1990s

Former Formula 1 driver Ukyo Katayama has been rescued from the slopes of Japan's Mount Fuji, but two of his climbing companions are feared dead.

Katayama, 46, was walking down a trail at a height of about 2,200m on the 3,776m mountain when a rescue team from Shizuoka police found him.

Katayama told reporters he was "alright", but two others are missing feared dead in harsh weather.

Katayama drove in almost 100 Grands Prix in the 1990s.

Experienced climber

Kyodo news agency reported that the driver made two calls for help to police - at 0100 (1700 GMT Thursday) and 0730 local time.

The messages said that one colleague "appeared to have died and another was in danger".

Katayama indicated that his companions' tents had blown away.

Kyodo named the missing pair as Eiichi Usami 43, and Toshio Horikawa, 34, who both work for Katayama's firm.

The temperature was reported to be -25C.

Katayama drove mainly for Tyrell in the 1990s, then switched to rallying before taking up his love of climbing.

He has scaled the summits of Mt McKinley, Kilimanjaro and a number of Himalayan peaks.



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