Mercredi 29 Mai 2024
taille du texte
Mercredi, 09 Novembre 2011 12:30

Nov. 9, 1963: Dual Disasters Stun Japan

Rate this item
(0 Votes)

1963: Two industrial tragedies in Japan claim the lives of more than 600 people.

The first accident occurred at the Miike coal mine between Omuta and Arao. Ten mining carts loaded with coal were being hauled to the surface at around 3:12 in the afternoon. One of the chains linking the carts together severed and sent eight of them careening out of control to the bottom of mine. The carts traveled nearly 400 yards and hit speeds of 73 mph before crashing.

Because the carts were moving so fast in an enclosed space, they created a powerful suction effect, mixing coal-dust particles with the surrounding air.

When the carts finally hit the bottom of the mine, the resulting wreckage of iron and steel either hit some high-voltage wiring or created its own shower of mechanical sparks. Whatever the case, the combustible mixture of air and coal dust ignited. A powerful series of explosions ripped through the mine and killed 20 people outright.

Unfortunately, the tragedy was just beginning to unfold.

The explosion filled the mine with toxic levels of carbon monoxide. Another 438 workers died from acute monoxide poisoning, and an additional 839 suffered aftereffects from inhaling the toxic gas.

As if that weren’t enough, several hundred miles away in Yokohama, a deadly three-train railroad crash had occurred.

A 12-car commuter train headed for Tokyo struck three cars from a derailed freight train between the Tsurumi and Shin-Koyasu stations on the Tokaido line. This caused the commuter train to veer off course and collide head-on with another passenger train. Four passenger cars were crushed, killing 161 people and injuring another 120.

The Miike mining disaster is still one of the worst coal mining disasters in history. The Yokahama crash still remains one of Japan’s most severe railway disasters as well. The 2005 Amagasaki rail crash resulted in far more injuries but thankfully fewer deaths.

Source: Various

See Also:


French (Fr)English (United Kingdom)

Parmi nos clients