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35 hurt as train, truck collide near Tokyo

  • A train is seen derailed after collision with a truck at a crossing in Yokohama. Photo courtesy: AFP

Tokyo (AFP) -- A train and a truck collided at a crossing near Tokyo on Thursday, injuring 35 people, with at least one person seriously hurt, authorities said.

"A total of 35 people were injured... one is in a serious condition," said Ryo Nagakura, a crisis management official at Yokohama City, south of Tokyo, where the accident occurred.

The seriously injured person is "in a state of cardiorespiratory arrest", he told AFP, using a term often employed in Japan to indicate a person's death before it is officially confirmed by a doctor.

Local reports said one person -- possibly the truck driver -- was feared to be trapped under the wrecked train.

Television footage showed the first car of the train derailed and lying on its side, with windows shattered and some parts of the train apparently charred.

Black smoke, thought to be coming from the truck, could also be seen on the footage, which also showed hundreds of lemons on the side of the tracks -- apparently part of the truck's cargo.

One eyewitness told NHK: "It looked like there was fire coming out of the bottom of the big truck... the smoke was awful."

Japanese trains have a well-deserved reputation for safety and punctuality and accidents are rare.

Earlier this year, 14 people suffered light injuries when a driverless train in suburban Tokyo went the wrong way and smashed into the buffers.

In April 2005, a speeding commuter train near Osaka jumped the tracks on a tight bend during the morning rush hour and smashed into an apartment tower. The driver and 106 passengers were kills and more than 550 people were injured.

The crash was Japan's worst rail disaster since 1963 when 161 people died in Yokohama after a freight train collided with a truck and was then hit by two passenger trains.

Japan's deadliest-ever train accident was in February 1947 when a passenger train derailed near Tokyo, killing 184 people and injuring nearly 500.


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