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14 Killed as 40-Ton Girder Falls From Hiroshima Monorail

From Associated Press

A 40-ton steel girder rolled off an elevated monorail under construction in Hiroshima on Thursday, crushing vehicles at a traffic light below and killing 14 people, police said.

Nine people were injured by the 213-foot section of the monorail’s horizontal frame, which demolished 11 vehicles, police official Kiyomitsu Umakoshi said.

He said the steel girder was being moved by construction workers when it slipped off a support column and fell.

“I clearly saw it come falling down on to my car,” a weeping woman driver said in a nationally televised interview. “I saw about four or five cars ahead of me get crushed.”

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The cars were waiting at a traffic light on the road below, which parallels the elevated monorail route, Umakoshi said.

Some of the cars were flattened to less than 18 inches in height. Police and construction workers spent more than two hours removing the girder from the crushed cars to get to the victims below, Umakoshi said.

Five of the dead and three of the injured were construction workers who had been working at the top of the support column, Umakoshi said.

The 11 1/2-mile monorail is being built to link the downtown area of Hiroshima, in western Japan, with stadiums for the 1994 Asian Games.

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