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Twin Disasters Kill Close to 500 Japanese

Nov. 9, 1963 - A coal-mine explosion and a rail wreck killed at least 491 persons in Japan today. Hundreds of persons were injured, and several hundred miners were trapped with little hope of escape. Rescuers said it appeared that a giant fireball touched off by the explosion, cave-ins, and carbon monoxide had killed miners who tried to reach safety in isolated underground chambers. The mine disaster at Omuta took at least 327 lives. The rail accident, in which 164 persons died, including an American student from Colorado, happened just outside Yokohama on Japan’s north-south Tokaido line. More than 60 persons were reported to have been injured, many seriously. The police said early today that the coal-mine disaster was one of the worst in Japan’s history. The train wreck happened when a freight train hit a truck on a grade crossing. The first three cars of the freight train were derailed, and they overturned. The wreckage was hit almost instantly by two passenger trains coming from opposite directions on adjacent tracks. The forward coaches of both trains were derailed and wrecked.


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