Friday 22 November 2013

One dead and four missing as Japanese landslide engulfs road repair crew.

A repair crew working on a damaged mountain road above the city of Yurihonjo in Akita Prefecture, Japan, were swallowed by a huge landslide when the road collapsed completely at about 3.20 pm local time (6.20 am GMT) on Thursday 21 November 2013. The body of one of the workers was later recovered, with four still missing at the time of writing. 

The site of the 21 November 2013 Yurihonjo landslide. Kyodo News.

The road had been closed for some months after cracks appeared, and quantity of heavy machinery had been brought to the site before the collapse, suggesting that the repairs triggered a landslide on an existing week point in the underlying rock. There was snow at the site, which would imply sub-zero temperatures, which can also be a factor in triggering landslides, as water in cracks in rock expands as it freezes, forcing the cracks further apart.

The approximate location of the 21 November 2013 Yurihonjo Landslide. Google Maps.

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