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3 Dozen Injured in Fiery Train Derailment in Northern Japan

The operator of a train that derailed and caught fire in northern Japan came under criticism Saturday for acting too slowly to evacuate the passengers.

The express train was travelling toward Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido late Friday when one car derailed, forcing it to make an emergency stop inside a tunnel. Smoke began filling several carriages at the back of the six-car train, said Hokkaido Railway Co., also known as JR Hokkaido.

Passengers were initially told to move to the front three carriages. The 240 passengers eventually escaped on foot as the situation grew more serious.

One passenger whose face was covered in black soot told public broadcaster NHK that he climbed out of the train while the staff was still figuring out what to do. Another said he could barely breathe and thought he would suffocate if he waited longer for official instructions.

Read the rest of the story: Train derailment in northern Japan sparks fire, 3 dozen injured.