7 missing in collapse of highway tunnel in JapanBy ELAINE KURTENBACH
The Associated Press | December 03,2012TOKYO — At least seven people were feared missing and several dead after about 150 concrete panels fell from the roof of a tunnel on the main highway linking Tokyo with central Japan.
Efforts to rescue any survivors trapped inside the tunnel were hindered by heavy smoke after one vehicle caught fire inside the Sasago Tunnel, about 50 miles outside Tokyo.
Rescuers also temporarily suspended work because of fears of a further collapse. They were attempting to reach at least several vehicles believed buried in the rubble, including a truck whose driver was trapped inside and had called his company for help.
“I could hear voices of people calling for help, but the fire was just too strong,” said a woman interviewed by public broadcaster NHK after she escaped from the tunnel.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency issued a statement late Sunday saying five people were confirmed to have been in a car that burned inside the tunnel, and at least one other was in a truck.
However, officials said they could not confirm the exact number of people believed dead.
Executives for Central Japan Expressway Co. said the company was investigating why the concrete panels had given way. A check of the 3-mile tunnel’s roof in September and October found nothing amiss, they said.
It said two people were confirmed hurt, but the injuries were not severe.
The tunnel, which opened in 1977, is one of many in mountainous Japan. The location of the collapse, about a mile inside the tunnel, was complicating rescue efforts, reports said.
Police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances were massed outside the tunnel’s entrance.MORE IN Wire NewsBOSTON — Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon... Full StoryDAYTON, Ohio — On the road in a tour bus this week, the U.S. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Dramatic river rescue in Southern Vermont, Castleton moving ahead on sale of old town office building, Passover celebrated in Woodstock.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Woodstock Ave. lane reconfiguration trial will go forward despite resistance, Rutland city engineer decamps for greener pastures in flatlands, technology changes the way many people file tax returns.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Gulf wildlife still dying from 2010 BP oil spill, Veena in Cabo San Lucas, Gertrude Stein on family living, all in today's minute.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Police officer identified in deadly Brattleboro shooting, school consolidation boosters silent on savings, lawmakers nix legal marijuana for PTSD and scrap yard helps solve half-ton heist.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Coyotes are true American survivors, Veena on Narragansett Pier, Vladimir Nabokov in Paris.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Bad crash in Rutland Town sends driver to hospital, natural gas pipeline get support from Addison County Planning Commission.