Japan Train Crash Death Toll Rises to 73

April 26, 2005

The loss of life from yesterday’s train wreck in Japan has risen to 73. Over 450 were injured, and many remain in a serious condition. Rescue workers labored throughout the night to extract survivors from the mangled mass of metal following yesterday’s deadly derailment (See IJ Website April 25). Three more persons were found, but hope is fading that there will be any more.

Japanese authorities have started an investigation into the cause of the crash. Attention is centered on what many passengers observed as “excessive speed” as the train approached the site where it derailed and crashed into an apartment building.

Initial suspicion has fallen on the train’s 23-year-old driver, Ryujiro Takami, who remains unaccounted for. He had only 11 months experience and had been previously reprimanded in 2004 for overrunning a station.

The derailed train had overrun the station at the stop prior to the crash, and was apparently running late. But according to preliminary analysis from rail experts, as reported by the BBC, it would have had to reach speeds in excess of 84 mph (140 kms), twice the speed limit on that section of track, before it would have derailed.

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