Survivors tell of horror inside collapsed tunnel

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  • 3

    Rogerrabbitt

    Such a tragedy, so sorry for those that perished. Tunnels are everyones nightmare be it fire or collapse.

  • 2

    UsagitoSaru

    what terrible news to wake up to! I hope they find more survivors soon!

  • 2

    Stephen Jez

    Burning to death, what a horrible way to go. I feel for the families and friends of the deceased.

  • 0

    timeon

    Apparently 9 are confirmed dead at the moment. So horrible, RIP.

  • 2

    semperfi

    This is a wake-up call for the Highways Ministry to do a thorough check on all road infrastructures : tunnels, bridges, etc.

  • 4

    KyndigJ1s

    Actually semperfi, They just checked this particular tunnel a couple of months ago. According to my wife, they didn't check it thoroughly because there are rumors saying that the ceiling was to high.

  • 1

    papasmurfinjapan

    RIP poor folk. What a terrible tragedy...

  • 3

    KyndigJ1s

    Sometimes I think Japan has a build it and forget about it mentality. R.I.P to all the victims.

  • 2

    alliswellinjapan

    Quite unprecedented in Japan to have a major tunnel shortly after periodic inspections to suddenly collapse and cause tragedy of this nature and magnitude. Certainly a strong wake up call for more stringent and thorough inspections to be implemented nationwide as there are so many other massive tunnels built during the same period ie the economic high growth era of which the high ceilings may have possibly been considered to be ok under visual inspections only. Truly unfortunate and sad that it had to be confirmed this way.

  • 9

    zichi

    Our first thoughts must always be with the victims and their families for their terrible loss. There will have to be a full investigation why the roof panel collapsed. The expressway company stated the tunnel was inspected only two months ago.

    In 2001, there were 8,331 road tunnels. Had this disaster happened in a train tunnel, or Shinkansen tunnel it would have derailed the train.

    The standard of Japanese civil engineering is respected the world over, and I have been impressed by the achievements. Being a mountainous country, tunnels are a part of the life.

    Some tunnels are many decades old. Following an investigation building codes might have to be modified.

    Being trapped by fire is horrific and one of the most painful ways to die.

  • 2

    GW

    Tragic, rest in peace

  • 1

    GW

    Hopefully other tunnels are in good shape, sadly inspections here are often equivalent to cursery glances & any issues or faults found often left out of reports.

    Given we see this time & time again I have little faith in safety checks etc, the govt's & regulatory authorities poor records sadly to blame

  • 4

    zichi

    @GW

    Hopefully other tunnels are in good shape, sadly inspections here are often equivalent to cursery glances & any issues or faults found often left out of reports.

    How do you know that?

  • 1

    David Juteau

    What terrible news. Prayers to all those affected! One can only imagine the horror. I am always nervous when driving through tunnels.

  • -1

    megosaa

    good lord! this is so terrible. will pray for all.

  • 2

    nandakandamanda

    On the TV news last night they were saying that there are only 12 tunnels in Japan with this kind of suspended ceiling, another on the same highway, two on the Tomei, and the other 8 down south-west, near or in Kyushu I think they said.

  • 1

    wanderlust

    Hope that it is not a construction problem. Happened before in one of the bullet train tunnels near Shimonoseki, where a company used cheap sea sand instead of pure sand for the concrete, the salt content caused corrosion in the steel, and some large sections dropped, luckily at night when no trains were running.

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    No consolation to those who have died but inspections will increase and they will refer to the lessons learned in this tragedy.

  • 4

    zichi

    We can't compare tunnel building and maintenance with what happened at the Fukushima power plant. At that plant, enough safety features were not built into the design or the updates.

    I don't know for sure but I think the gov't are not responsible for safety checks on tunnels. That's probably the expressway company or another. I certainly disagree that the gov't or any other company cuts corners 99% of the time.

    No safety check of the tunnels can reveal all the problems which might exist. More frequent inspections would mean the tunnels are closed more for the inspection periods which would lead to complaints from motorists and truckers.

    Like all tragic events we will all have to wait for the investigation to reveal the cause of the collapse.

    Japan is respected the world over for its civil engineering and especially tunnel building being one of the leading experts.

    There are more than 8,000 road tunnels, thousands of rail tunnels, bridges long and short. Compared to the numbers are very few tragic tunnel accidents which usually involves crashes and not collapses.

    Engineers do their jobs and most do them well.

  • 3

    zichi

    @GW

    you didn't the question about how you know "inspections here are often equivalent to cursery glances & any issues or faults found often left out of reports?"

    How would you know what's left out of any report?

  • 3

    zichi

    12 tunnels in Japan with this kind of suspended ceiling, another on the same highway, two on the Tomei, and the other 8 down south-west, near or in Kyushu

    All of those 12 tunnels will need safety inspections but it also depends on the years of the builds?

  • 2

    GW

    Zichi,

    I hear what your saying, I just dont trust the govt & all the connected amakudari, K/Bing, pilfering organizations to do a proper job & just reading newspapers watching the news one sees corners cut, reports either ignored or censored, its pervasive here.

    Can we expect accidents from happening...........of course not, this is sad & tragic. Was it preventable..........perhaps time will tell, IF we get proper information.

    Again for me I just dont trust the authorities to tell the truth because often they simply dont, hence I tend not to believe them much

  • 2

    zichi

    GW, Japan has tens of thousands of kilometers of road and rail systems with thousands of bridges elevated sections and tunnels but very few accidents involving the collapse of any structures. The rail system is not only always on time but one of the safest in the world.

    I think you have some major issues living here?

  • 1

    GW

    Zichi,

    Actually I do have issues here in Japan because well simply there are lots of them & sadly another article just updated confirmed my fears the "inspections" basically simple visual inspections nothing more

    I honestly hate being right but when you see corners cut left right & centre year in year out yeah one can develop issues, more people should then maybe a few tradgedies will be prevented & lives improved, just an idea rather than doing things half a$$ed at best

  • 0

    FightingViking

    In spite of it maybe never happening, I think I'll avoid using the tunnel "under the sea" to go to the airport from now on... We wouldn't get burnt, just drowned...

  • 0

    GW

    FightingV,

    The one near Odaiba? I am always glad when I come up & OUT of that one! Especially as it can be slow going due to traffic.

  • 0

    FightingViking

    @GW

    I'm not sure about that... I get onto the express-way from "Oi-Minami" (coming in on "Kan 7"). There may be several "under the sea tunnels"... Not very reassuring...

  • 0

    GW

    I hear I go to Ohi for work with some frequency & the tunnels going under the bay sometimes get me thinking a little too much........

  • 0

    FightingViking

    @GW

    A friend just told me I use the "Bayshore route" and that it probably is the one near Odaiba...

  • 0

    IMijjasik

    Though this incident rarely happens, and just like other comments saying that perhaps the tunnel was a decade old, I do believe it's best for those Japanese engineers to have other tunnels investigated and double check the other parts of the tunnel before it totally collapses like a domino and in order to prevent such an unexpected mischief like this. Let this be a lesson learned, better to be safe than sorry.

    To those people who are searching for survivors, I suggest using the CAT equipments might help if you certainly want to get the job done. Simple visual inspections won't do any good.

    Sigh. My deepest sympathies to the woman who had her friends and her boyfriend trapped inside the vehicle. I wish I was there to help search for survivors. To those who have passed away from this horrible incident, my deepest condolences and may you rest in peace.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Zichi, posters commenting on lax safety here and suggesting they have issues with living here? Aren't you the same poster that goes on about Fukushima? It's coming out now that the safety checks were pretty lax and this probably could have been avoided IF proper safety checks had been done in the first place. This is Japan. Well known for cutting corners when it comes to safety and safety inspections. You of all posters should be well aware of that.

    RIP to the victims and I hope the families sue the pants off of whomever is responsible for this.

  • 2

    zichi

    Maybe safety inspections for road tunnels could or need to be improved but Japan compared with other places has a good track record for road network safety and also rail network safety.

    We can only know what happened after there's a full investigation.

  • 1

    Homeschooler

    Tragic. All the quakes can't have helped the structural soundness, lets hope other tunnels are checked swiftly, and there are no more tunnel cave ins.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Zichi, I don't live in "other places". I live here. You're doing the exact same thing so many of the locals do when it comes to pointing out issues in Japan. There are issues with safety in this country and things that were built years ago are starting to show their age and aren't being maintained properly. I hope they sort it out so this doesn't happen again.

    And like I ask, what happens if there is a large earthquake. Are these tunnels going to be a liability or what?

  • 4

    zichi

    @tmarie,

    there are more than 8,000 road tunnels and an equal number of rail tunnels. How many tragic tunnel accidents have happened during your time in Japan, or over the last 50 years? Japanese civil engineering is respected the world over because they have learnt to overcome numerous problems, including earthquakes.

    The safety standards for many aspects of Japanese civil engineering and buildings are much higher than elsewhere. Last year, in the powerful earthquake, how many high rise buildings collapsed in Tokyo and in other place. None.

  • 1

    Row Bur

    Yep. Japanese safety standards. Like the "missing steel" scandal 5 or so years ago, where the Govt. refused to identify which high rise domestic mansions were built without the required steel, rendering them potentially lethal , and the only person who went to jail was the whistleblower. Fujikyu highlands beheading?No safety checks on a ROLLERCOASTER? Please,don't put your head in the sand and call it patriotism.

  • -2

    tmarie

    Zichi, it isn't the point. The point is nine are dead in an accident that could have been prevented IF the company did proper safety checks. End of story and end of nine people's lives.

  • -2

    Nessie

    Row Bur, name a country that has not had accidents, including those due to negligence. Zichi is correct in saying that the safety standards in Japan are high.

    One might take issue with the lack of accountability after an accident, including the lack of compensation for victims when irregularities are found. I'm thinking particularly of one case where the building wasn't built to earthquake code and the developer's feet were not held to the fire afterward. You can also critcize the late and lackluster disaster response in this case, and in the Furubira tunnel collapse back in the '90s.

    But the fact is that Japan has a good safety record for its infrastructure.

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