Highway tunnel ceiling slabs fall in Japan, kill 9

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 3:03 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 3:07 AM

TOKYO (AP) — The deadly collapse of a highway tunnel not far from Tokyo has prompted Japanese officials to order the immediate inspection of the many tunnels across the mountainous country.

Nine people were killed in yesterday's collapse and recovery efforts have been suspended while the ceiling is shored up to prevent more pieces from falling in the tunnel about 50 miles west of Tokyo.

There are 49 other tunnels around the country that are either on highways or roads managed by the central government.

Japanese officials say concrete ceiling slabs fell onto moving vehicles deep inside the 3-mile long Sasago tunnel yesterday. The location of the accident about half-way through the tunnel has also made work difficult. The tunnel in the other direction is also closed.

Authorities say it's not clear if there are other survivors but work is slated to resume later in the day.

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