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Police probe possible negligence in Fukuoka shinkansen electricity failure

Kyodo

Police have opened an investigation into an electricity failure on a Sanyo Shinkansen Line train in Fukuoka Prefecture on Saturday caused by an aluminum plate falling off the train while it was traveling at 285 kph.

Police entered a West Japan Railway Co. depot in Fukuoka Prefecture and examined the train on suspicion of flawed maintenance and negligence resulting in injury. One passenger was injured in the incident.

JR West said electricity failed between Kokura and Hakata stations at around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, causing the Sakura 561 train to come to a sudden stop.

The railway checked the track and found the aluminum part in a tunnel. The plate, weighing 6.5 kg and measuring 71 cm by 62 cm, fell from the second car of the eight-car train bound for Kagoshima Chuo Station from Shin-Osaka Station.

After falling off the train, the plate ricocheted off the tunnel wall and the train, damaging it in three areas and also wrecking a wire that supplies electricity to the overhead cables, JR West said. The electricity is believed to have failed because the wire shorted out, it said.

The nearly full train had about 500 passengers aboard.

A 26-year-old high school teacher from Kagoshima sustained minor injuries to her left wrist and elbow, the police said.

According to JR West, the metal plate had been examined within the previous two days and no abnormalities were found.

The incident caused delays of up to 97 minutes for 53 trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, affecting about 15,100 passengers, during the already congested start of the Bon holidays.