15 injured as sightseeing train derails in Kagoshima

JIJI, Kyodo

A sightseeing train derailed in Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Saturday morning, injuring 15 passengers.

Of the 15 people taken to a hospital, three were severely injured, including to the head and chest, but their lives are not considered to be at risk, said Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu).

The Ibusuki no Tamatebako No. 2 train on the Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line derailed shortly after 11 a.m., apparently after hitting a landslide caused by heavy rain. The Japan Transport Safety Board sent two inspectors to the accident site.

According to JR Kyushu and a local fire department, 47 passengers and crew members were aboard the two-car train at the time of the accident. The injured people were quoted as saying that they fell down hard when the train hit the earth and sand from the landslide.

JR Kyushu said the first car of the train, bound for Kagoshima-Chuo Station, hit the landslide after leaving Ibusuki Station at 10:57 a.m. Train services were suspended on some sections of the Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line.

According to the Kagoshima Meteorological Office, the city of Ibusuki had up to 49.5 mm of rainfall per hour on Saturday morning.