Japan: Massive car pile-up due to heavy snow kills 1, injures 17

Some 134 vehicles involved in incident that forced closure of Tohoku Expressway, as snowstorms pummel northern parts of the country.

Public broadcaster NHK said highway authorities finished cleaning up the debris after about eight hours [Kyodo/Reuters]

At least one person has been killed and 17 wounded in a massive pile-up of at least 134 vehicles in blizzard conditions on a highway in northern Japan, according to officials.

About 200 people were stranded in the pile-up, which forced the closure of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi prefecture, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said on Tuesday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said a truck rammed into a passenger car, triggering the pile-up over a 1km (0.6 mile) stretch of the highway.

One person was killed, he said.

An aerial view shows the site where cars were involved in a series of crashes when a snowstorm struck a stretch of highway on the Tohoku Expressway in Osaki, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, on January 19, 2021 [Kyodo/Reuters]

The disaster agency later said 17 others were injured, including two seriously.

Public broadcaster NHK said it took about eight hours for highway authorities to finish cleaning up the debris.

Traffic authorities had imposed a 50km (30 miles) per hour speed limit at the time of the accident because of low visibility due to a snowstorm, Kato said.

Some 200 people were left stranded due to the pileup of vehicles [Kyodo/Reuters]

Parts of northern Japan have been struck by heavy snow in recent weeks.

Last year around this time, heavy snow left at least 53 people dead and 574 injured in western and northern Japan.

The loss of life largely occurred in five prefectures along the Sea of Japan in the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions.

Highway authorities finished cleaning up the debris after about eight hours, local media said [Kyodo/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies