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Survivors tell of Japan tunnel horrors, scenes of confusion

Published on Dec 2, 2012 8:32 PM
A surveillance monitor showing a car and rescue team in the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi prefecture, is pictured at a branch office of Central Nippon Expressway Company in Hachioji in this photo taken by Kyodo on Dec 2, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

OTSUKI, Japan (AFP) - A man who survived a tunnel collapse in Japan spoke on Sunday of how a woman who crawled from a mound of debris begged him to help her friends and boyfriend trapped in a burning vehicle.

Another told of how he fled with his wife and children after trying and failing to get into a flaming car to rescue people inside in a horrifying incident on a highway that has so far claimed at least five lives.

Witnesses spoke of scenes of confusion in the nearly 5km-long tunnel, which passes through hills near Mount Fuji, as cars drove the wrong way to try to escape the cave-in and ensuing fire.

Officials have said five charred bodies have been found inside the tunnel on one of Japan's most important roads. They earlier said at least seven people were missing.

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