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7 Missing In Japan Highway Tunnel Collapse

11:47 AM, Dec 2, 2012   |    comments
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Photo: JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

TOKYO (AP) - Firefighters are picking their way through the collapsed portion of a tunnel on a highway about 50 miles west of Tokyo after extinguishing a smoky fire that initially hindered emergency crews.

At least seven people are feared missing and video footage from cameras inside the tunnel showed cement roof panels that collapsed onto vehicles inside. Local media report rescuers suspended work out of fears of another collapse.

A woman who escaped from her rental car after it was trapped in the 2.5 mile Sasago tunnel told authorities that she was unsure about five other people in the vehicle with her. Another two vehicles were known to be buried in the rubble, suggesting at least seven people were trapped.

The cause in the collapse of about 330 feet of the tunnel is under investigation.

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