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Japanese Train Hits Apartment Block; More than 50 Die


A crowded commuter train carrying around 580 passengers smashed into an apartment building near Osaka in western Japan Monday, killing at least 51 people and injuring at least 400.

Workers are reported still trying to reach at least four passengers trapped in the wreckage. Five of the train's seven cars derailed during the morning rush hour near Amagasaki in an urban area about 400 kilometers from Tokyo.

The front cars of the train operated by West Japan Railway Company were flattened when they plowed into the apartment building.

There is no word on how many passersby and apartment residents are among the casualties.

Investigators are looking into the train's speed and braking systems at the time of the accident, Japan's worst in more than four decades.

A 23-year-old man with less than one year of experience as a train driver was at the controls. His condition is not known.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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