LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Japan was shaken on September 27 when Mt. Ontake erupted, resulting in the death of 47 hikers. Located 125 miles west of Tokyo, the ominous volcano’s explosion also injured 70 other hikers who sustained bruises, cuts, and broken bones after being pelted by flying rocks and other debris. What makes this event even more tragic, however, are the photos that were found on cell phones and cameras discovered on the bodies of those who were not lucky enough to share them personally with their friends and family members.

In a piece written for The Independent website, writer Roisin O’Connor reveals the stories behind some of these photos. For Hideomi Takahashi, 41, it was the last picture he ever took. Apparently shot by a co-worker who was hiking with him, Takahashi is pictured standing next to the ‘Mount Ontake Summit’ sign. Another man, Izumi Noguchi, 59, was also climbing the volcano on the doomed day of the eruption. Even though his camera had been damaged when found alongside his body, the memory card was still functioning and contained 100 pictures of the fuming mountain.

In the wake of this eruption, learning the latest information is easier than ever before due to social media. Feeds are constantly updated with the numbers of those injured, as well as the morbid death toll. What we tend to forget about sites like Twitter and Facebook is that there is so much more to them than simply sharing pictures of what you had for dinner (#foodporn). Social media sites are valuable resources that can be used to not only share statistics during disasters, but also the human side of tragedy as well.