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Suicide by toxic gas forces closure of expressway

Date Posted: 2011-06-16

A seven-kilometer long traffic jam occurred Sunday as Okinawa Prefectural Police and the Nihon Expressway Corporation West Japan Okinawa Control office shut down a stretch of the expressway because high concentrations of a highly toxic gas.

The toxic gas was spewing from a vehicle stopped on a parking lot on a village road next to the expressway in Kitanakagusuku Village’s Kishaba district. Authorities did not evacuate the neighborhood, but did close both sides of Okinawa Expressway from Okinawa Minami IC and Kitanakagusuku IC about 10:10 a.m.

Authorities say the body of a man thought to be under the age of 30 was discovered at the parked vehicle. Police say it appears the man committed suicide by releasing the toxic hydrogen sulfide inside the vehicle.

NEXCO says the traffic was bottle-necked along a seven-kilometer stretch in the northbound lanes by Kitanakagusuku IC. The traffic began moving again after about 25 minutes.

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