Man sets himself alight on Japan bullet train, second passenger dies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two passengers on a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train died on Tuesday after one doused himself in oil and set it ablaze, police said, but there was no immediate indication of a motive for the action that left 26 others injured.

The train, carrying about 1,000 passengers, made an emergency stop on its way from Tokyo, the capital, to the western city of Osaka, after smoke started to fill at least one carriage.

“At the very front of the first carriage ... this person had a whole petrol container, and sprayed liquid across the seats ... and then all over himself. And then set himself on fire,” a woman passenger told broadcaster TBS.

“And fire spread all over the place immediately.”

Besides the man who set himself afire, a woman passenger also died, a police official said. The cause of her death was not officially determined, but it could have been from inhaling smoke, he said.

TBS footage showed a train carriage filled with smoke and passengers scrambling to get out, pressing handkerchiefs to their faces. One clutched a baby to the chest.

Fire department officials said 26 other passengers were also hurt in the incident, affected by heat, smoke and other causes.

After the emergency stop, the train was moved to a nearby station where the passengers disembarked on a platform crowded with photographers, police and fire officials.

Japan’s superfast Shinkansen trains are known for their speed and safety.

Reporting by Toru Hanai, Olivier Fabre, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Linda Sieg, Ami Miyazaki, Elaine Lies; Editing by Paul Tait and Clarence Fernandez