16th anniversary of deadly derailment in Amagasaki commemorated

Bereaved family members and railway officials offered prayers Sunday for 107 victims of a train derailment 16 years ago in the western Japan city of Amagasaki, with a memorial service canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A moment of silence was observed at a memorial built at the accident site for mourners to pray for the dead at 9:18 a.m., the exact moment the crash occurred 16 years ago.

"We will make a tireless effort for safe train operations, with remorse engraved in our hearts," West Japan Railway Co. President Kazuaki Hasegawa said, as he laid flowers at the facility.

A memorial service was canceled for the second consecutive year due to the coronavirus.

On April 25, 2005, a rush-hour commuter train on the JR Fukuchiyama Line derailed and crashed into a condominium building after entering a curved section of track traveling well in excess of its maximum permitted speed, killing 106 passengers and the driver and injuring 562 people.

© Kyodo News