Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Charred bodies found in Japan tunnel collapse

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Koshu: Japanese rescuers found several charred bodies in a highway tunnel that collapsed on Sunday, crushing cars and triggering a blaze, and sparking fears of another cave-in.

At least seven people were missing inside the nearly five-kilometre long tunnel.

Rescuers were forced to suspend for several hours their efforts to reach those believed trapped under thick concrete ceiling panels that crashed from the roof of the tunnel, as engineers warned more debris could fall.

Emergency crews who rushed to the Sasago tunnel on the Chuo Expressway, 80 kilometres west of the capital, were hampered by thick smoke billowing from the entrance.

Emergency crews equipped with breathing apparatus battled around a third of the way into the tunnel, where they found up to 70 metres of concrete panels had come crashing down, crushing at least two vehicles.

Hours after the collapse, engineers warned the structure could be unstable, forcing resucers to suspend their work as a team of experts assessed the danger. It was during this inspection that accompanying police officers confirmed the first deaths.

“What we found resembled bodies inside a vehicle, they were blackened. We have visually confirmed them but have yet to take them out for closer examination,” an official told AFP. “According to information from local fire authorities, seven people are missing but the number has not been confirmed,” an official at the government’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency told AFP. At least three people were taken to hospital. (AFP)

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