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At Least Five Dead In Japanese Tunnel Collapse

Rescue workers and police gather outside the Sasago Tunnel after part of the tunnel collapsed.
Authorities in Japan said at least five people were killed when a section of a highway tunnel collapsed some 80 kilometers west of Tokyo.

Earlier, at least seven people were reported missing in the incident.

An undetermined number of vehicles are believed to be buried inside the tunnel.

Authorities briefly suspended rescue work due to fear that the tunnel was unstable but later resumed efforts to recover victims.

Efforts were hampered by thick smoke and dust pouring from the tunnel and by dozens of abandoned vehicles in the tunnel.

Three people have been hospitalized.

The Sasago Tunnel is one of the longest in Japan, passing through hills near Mount Fuji and connecting the capital with the western part of the country.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP