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1 Dead in Japan Roller Coaster Wreck

The Associated Press
Saturday, May 5, 2007; 12:48 PM

TOKYO -- A roller coaster traveling up to 46 mph hit a guardrail at an amusement park in western Japan on Saturday, killing one person and injuring 21 others, officials said.

Osaka police official Kaoru Tanaka said a woman was killed and 21 others were injured. Two people suffered serious injuries, Kyodo News agency reported. Public broadcaster NHK said 12 onlookers were also taken to a hospital after they complained of feeling ill.

An axle on one of the six cars broke causing the accident at Expoland in Osaka, 255 miles west of Tokyo, Kyodo reported. It happened amid Japan's "Golden Week" holiday, when many families pack amusement parks and other tourist sites. Saturday was "Children's Day."

The park was closed following the accident, park official Kazuhiro Shiba said. The stand-up roller coaster could hold up to 24 passengers, Shiba said.

"A fatal accident occurred on Children's Day, which was supposed to be a fun day. I am at a loss for words to express my apologies," Expoland president Saburo Yamada told a press conference in Osaka. "I'd like to offer my heartfelt apologies," he said.

Expoland opened as the amusement zone for the 1970 International Exposition held in Osaka.

© 2007 The Associated Press