At least four injured from chemical leak on Japan bullet train

‘It reminded me of the Tokyo subway sarin attack,’ says eyewitness referring to 1995 attack that killed 14 and injured over 6,000

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 10 October 2023 17:15 BST
Japan: 6 Injured After Coming In Contact With Chemical Inside Bullet Train In Sendai

A chemical leak injured at least four passengers on a bullet train in Japan, according to officials and local media.

The chemical leak occurred on the Tohoku Shinkansen line and injured four, including a child on Monday, the city fire department said.

“It reminded me of the Tokyo subway sarin attack. It’s frightening because you can bring anything onto a train,” a 52-year-old eyewitness, referring to the 1995 terrorist attack that killed 14 people and injured thousands was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

None of the injured on the bullet train were reported to be in serious condition. Two others, including a railway worker, complained of feeling sick after inhaling the chemical, reported the Asahi Shimbun.

The chemical leak led to the evacuation of passengers onto the platform at JR Sendai Station in Miyagi prefecture, according to the East Japan Railway Company.

At approximately noon on Monday, a distress call was made to Japan’s emergency 119 number, reporting that a child had sustained an injury after coming in contact with what appeared to be a spilt chemical substance aboard the Hayabusa No 52 high-speed train travelling from Shin-Aomori to Tokyo.

A man, later identified as a 40-year-old employee of a geological survey company based in Tokyo, was believed to have been carrying an industrial chemical used in his profession.

The chemical was kept in a bottle in his hand luggage, according to police and it accidentally spilled.

Police say they are interrogating the person who possessed the bag containing the suspicious substance as the investigation continues.

Local media reported that the victims complained of burn-like symptoms.

“It smelled like cigarette smoke, something burning,” a woman who was on the bullet train told Kyodo. “It had a faint pungent odour.”

She said she also heard a woman shouting that a child had suffered a burn.

Another man reported seeing white smoke coming from a bag near the door of the train.

After the emergency response team arrived, the passengers were asked to leave the train.

The trains that follow the Tohoku Shinkansen route and were bound for Tokyo were delayed between Morioka and the capital, local media said.

Outside the station, sirens from emergency vehicles went off leading to concern among the crowd including tourists and shoppers.

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