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Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm still alive.. don't worry.. this is actually near my place, bout 2 towns away. luckily, i was already at work.

At Least 37 Killed in Japanese Train Accident
Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:18 AM ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - A crowded commuter train derailed and smashed into an apartment building in Japan on Monday, killing at least 37 people and injuring hundreds, media said.

Six people were still trapped more than three hours after the derailment, the worst train accident in Japan in 14 years.

The front car of the train smashed into the apartment building while several other cars were derailed in the accident, which occurred shortly after the morning rush hour near the city of Osaka, about 255 miles west of Tokyo.

Television showed rescuers with stretchers trying to remove people from the crumbled and tangled wreckage.

Witnesses said there were not enough stretchers so rescuers were stripping train seats to carry out the injured.

"There are a lot of seriously injured people, some with fractures," passenger Tatsuya Akashi told public broadcaster NHK soon after the accident.

"I've got a lot of blood on my clothes. I don't know what happened," said Akashi, who was on his way to work.

"It felt like the train speeded up as it was going around a curve and I thought there were some strange swings, and then the train derailed," Akashi said near the accident scene.

"No one knew what happened and everyone kept screaming."

Early reports said the seven-car train, carrying about 580 passengers, had hit a car before careering off the tracks.

Operator West Japan Railway Co. said the cause of the derailment was under investigation.

"We do not know yet the cause of the accident. The priority for now is to rescue the passengers," West Japan Railways President Takeshi Kakiuchi told a news conference.

A company official told the same news conference the driver of the train was a 23-year-old man with 11 months experience.

A man living about 100 feet from the scene said there was a large bang, and at first he thought there had been an explosion at a nearby factory.

"I looked out from my window. I saw nothing unusual near the factory," Naoto Shimizu told NHK. "Then, I saw dust spreading from the north side, which was large enough to block my view. So I thought it must have been a huge accident."

Japanese trains generally have a good safety record.

In the last major accident, in March 2000, five people were killed and 33 were hurt when a Tokyo subway train ripped away the side of a carriage of an oncoming train that had derailed in its path during rush hour.

The worst Japanese train crash in recent history took place in 1991 in Shigaraki, western Japan, when 42 people were killed and more than 600 injured.

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