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215 people taken to hospitals in Tokyo after falling due to snow

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Tokyo –  More than 200 people in Tokyo were sent to hospitals on Thursday and Friday after slipping and falling due to ice and snow on the streets, as the capital saw its first heavy snowfall in four years, authorities said. Central Tokyo had 10 centimeters of snow by Thursday evening, with traffic remaining disrupted on Friday. The mercury dropped to minus 3.5 C in central areas of the capital on Friday morning, 1.8 C lower than the previous day.

A total of 215 people aged between 9 and 97 were taken to hospitals in the capital after falling, according to the Tokyo Fire Department. Police said 77 traffic accidents resulting in injuries had occurred in Tokyo due to the snow as of Friday morning. An expressway serving the greater Tokyo area was partially closed and nine flights operated by All Nippon Airways departing from or arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda airport were cancelled.

On the Metropolitan Expressway, the snowfall left up to 100 vehicles stuck on the Tokyo Gate Bridge at one point. The Rainbow Bridge, a major tourist attraction in the capital, remained closed Friday morning.

In adjacent Saitama Prefecture, four men sustained minor injuries Friday morning in an accident involving five trucks in Kasukabe, local police said, adding they suspect it was caused by icy roads. An 84-year-old man broke his leg after falling when he was riding a bicycle, according to local authorities.

In Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, 346 traffic accidents had occurred as of Friday morning due to snow and ice on the roads, police said. At JR Shimbashi Station in a major Tokyo business district, many commuters were cautiously walking on icy roads.

“It was difficult to walk because roads around my house were frozen too. I wish I could have teleworking today,” said Namiki Kasahara, a 29-year-old resident of Nishitokyo. “It took longer than usual to commute because my bus was late,” said a 43-year-old man from Yokohama.

Over 100 domestic flights departing or arriving at Haneda or Narita airports, the metropolitan area’s main air gateways, were canceled Thursday, affecting some 9,700 passengers, according to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Japan Railway operators said the heavy snow caused the Tokaido Shinkansen Line to run slower than usual between Shinagawa and Atami stations, with some trains on the Tokaido Line and other local lines also delayed. The snow also led to partial closures of the Metropolitan Expressway serving the greater Tokyo area, including the Rainbow Bridge that spans Tokyo Bay. Motorists were encouraged to use snow tires or chains when driving.

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