• Kyodo

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Two people died Saturday when a tanker truck and a dump truck burst into flames after colliding head-on near a tunnel entrance on a national highway in the town of Gero, Gifu Prefecture, local authorities said.

The authorities have identified the dump truck driver as Takahiro Omae, 38, a resident of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture, but the other driver remains unidentified. Both were found dead inside their vehicles.

The accident happened around 1:50 p.m. on a slight bend about 50 meters from the north end the tunnel on National Route No. 41.

The authorities say they believe the accident happened after the tanker crossed into the opposite lane, while the explosion was caused when the fuel it was carrying ignited.

Omae was transporting gravel from the Gifu town of Hagiwara to Kanayama town, according to authorities.

The fire was put out after about an hour and 20 minutes, but authorities and local police say traffic remains halted at the scene. The tunnel is about 320 meters long and has a double lane.

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