At least three dead in Japan tunnel collapse and fire

  • AFP, Otsuki
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 02, 2012 15:22 IST

Rescuers in Japan have confirmed at least three people died after being trapped inside their burning vehicle in a highway tunnel that collapsed on Sunday, a spokesman told AFP.

"A number of charred bodies were confirmed inside" a vehicle, said a spokesman for Yamanashi Prefectural Police.

A fire department spokesman later confirmed there were at least three bodies.

But, he added, it may take a while for rescue workers to remove them and find others who were trapped inside.

"We are going into the tunnel and clearing debris. There is no telling as to when we can actually pull the individuals out," he told AFP.

The discovery of burned corpses was reported as police officers, a local professor and highway engineers surveyed the extent of the collapse inside the tunnel, a fire service spokesman said.

The search-and-rescue operation, which had been suspended because of the risk of another collapse, was back on by late afternoon.


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