Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 6 News List

One dead as train, truck collide near Tokyo

AFP, YOKOHAMA, Japan

Rescue officers, police and railway employees yesterday work at the scene where a train derailed during a collision with a truck in Yokohama, Japan.

Photo: Reuters

An express train traveling at about 120kph yesterday smashed into a truck at a crossing south of Tokyo, sparking a blaze and killing one person with about 30 others injured.

The crash derailed the front carriage and pinned the truck to a wall as it burst into flames, spewing black smoke into the air and its cargo of citrus fruit onto the tracks.

The force of the impact shattered the train’s front window and bent an overhead power line, with witnesses describing an intense fire and panic among the 500 passengers on board the train as it sped through the crossing near Yokohama.

“Emergency crews took 30 injured people into care. Of those, two sustained serious injuries. Of those severely injured, the hospital has confirmed the death of one person,” a fire department official told reporters.

Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) said that the truck driver was pinned under the train, but it was not immediately clear whether he was the victim. Another woman in her 20s was also seriously injured.

According to the Keikyu train company operating the service, the driver said he had applied the emergency brake, but too late to prevent the collision.

The firm said it had launched an investigation into the accident that took place just before noon.

“The maximum speed there is set at 120kph and we believe the train was traveling as fast as that,” said a Keikyu spokesman, who declined to be named. “There is an abnormality detection system there for emergencies and cases such as a truck getting stuck on the crossing. This system kicked in and an alarm signal was flickering.”

Eyewitnesses spoke of a fierce fire and panic, with TV images showing terrified passengers streaming from the carriages after the collision.

One man who was traveling in the first carriage told NHK there was a “sudden sound” and that the impact left people in heaps.

“I saw flames. Then the fire became more and more intense, so everyone rushed to get outside. It was a panic,” the eyewitness said.

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