Japan Sasago collapse "trap cars" - BBC News

2 December 2012 last updated at 06: 00 GMT Rupert Wingfield - Hayes of the BBC said that it is not known how many cars is caught in the trap

A major road tunnel collapsed at the Japan, trapping a number of vehicles and leaving seven people missing, local media reports say.

Survivors described how large sections of concrete fell on top of cars in the Sasago tunnel.

Rescuers managed to make the scene but didn't know how many cars were buried there.

The incident occurred about 08: 00 local time (23 h 00 GMT Saturday), about 80 km (50 miles) West of Tokyo.

The tunnel - one of the longest of the Japan - connects the capital to the city of Nagoya.

Public broadcaster NHK cited its black smoke that said journalist came out of the tunnel and there appeared to be a fire indoors.

'Fear '.map

Images from cameras inside the tunnel closed circuit television showed a section of the tunnel of up to 100 m (328 ft) which had given Tokyo liaison channels on the motorway on Chuo in Yamanashi prefecture.

"We do not know exactly how many vehicles is on fire", a traffic police officer told the AFP news agency.

The representative added that a woman was taken to hospital after what she had made his way out of the tunnel.

Smoke billows from the Sasago tunnel (Kyodo news agency/Reuters)Smoke was seen billowing Sasago tunnel

The woman said that she was with five other people in a van, but added: "I have no idea what happened to the other five." I do not know how many vehicles was before and behind ours. »

NHK reporter described driving through the tunnel, as it began to collapse, because other car bombs and fire. His car was badly damaged, he said.

Another survivor said the broadcasting organization that he saw "a concrete part of the ceiling. "fall of a sudden when I was driving on the inside I saw a fire from crushed car".

He added that he was 'scared' and marched for an hour out of the tunnel.

Sasago tunnel is a 4.3 km (2.7 miles). The tunnel double-barrel is on one of the main streets of Tokyo, the BBC Rupert Wingfield Hayes in the reports of the Japan.

The road had to be closed because of the seriousness of the accident, adds our correspondent.

Firefighters are still trying to extinguish the fire.

We know not what might have caused the roof to collapse.

Japan is prone to large earthquakes, but none have been reported in the area this morning, says our correspondent.

Closure of the tunnel, he said, should translate traffic chaos then thousands of weekend travellers head to Tokyo Sunday afternoon.