Monthly Archives January 2016

Japan bus crash death toll rises to 15: Police, East Asia News & Top Stories

TOKYO (AFP) – The death toll in Japan’s worst bus crash in 25 years has risen to 15, police said on Tuesday (January 19), as they scramble to determine why the vehicle swerved from a mountain road it wasn’t meant to be on.

The passengers, mostly young skiers – many of whom were teenagers or in their early twenties – were sleeping on the bus as it pulled off the road before dawn on Friday January 15 in the northwestern resort of Karuizawa. from Tokyo.

Fourteen people were killed and dozens injured the day after the accident. The toll worsened on Monday January 18 with the death of a 21-year-old university student, a local police spokesperson told AFP.

Japan has suffered a series of high-profile bus crashes, some caused by drivers falling asleep while driving, although the condition of the 65-year-old bus driver at the time of the last crash remains unknown.

He and the deputy bus driver were among the dead. Weather conditions are not considered a factor.

Rules governing the working conditions of late and long-distance truck drivers were tightened after an April 2012 accident that killed seven people.

This vehicle struck a highway wall after its driver dozed off while driving. Many of his passengers were on their way to visit the Tokyo Disney Resort.

Japan has an extensive and well-maintained road network throughout its mountainous terrain, but the operating company admitted after the crash that the bus was supposed to be on a highway as it headed to a ski resort. .

Japanese media have speculated that intense price competition between tour operators and bus companies could have led to drastic cuts, for example by trying to save highway tolls by taking an unapproved route.

Japan’s Transport Ministry will conduct unannounced emergency audits of bus companies across the country this week, Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii told reporters on Tuesday (January 19th).

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At least 14 tourists killed in bus crash in Japan on their way to ski vacation | Japan

Fourteen people were killed after a bus taking a group of vacationers to a ski resort deviated from the route in central Japan.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference in Tokyo that 14 people were killed and 27 others injured in the single vehicle crash in the early hours of Friday.

Suga, the government’s main spokesperson, said the Transportation Ministry had opened an investigation into the crash and sent inspectors to the scene. The nine men and five women who died included the two bus drivers.

An investigator walks next to the wreckage of the bus. Photograph: Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

According to fire and disaster management officials, the bus, carrying 41 people, veered into the opposite lane near the resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture at around 2 a.m. on Friday.

The vehicle passed through a guardrail and slid about three meters up the mountainside.

TV channels showed the bus, the middle part of which appeared to be curved, resting on its side against trees.

The nature of the injuries sustained by the survivors was not immediately clear, but reports say 13 people were seriously injured.

Friday’s crash came just two days after transport authorities forced bus owner ESP to suspend the operation of one of its seven vehicles for 20 days after failing to force its drivers to take health exams.

The crash is the latest in a series of tour bus crashes in Japan that have been attributed to overworked drivers on long-distance routes. In some previous accidents, drivers fell asleep while driving.

Steps have been taken to improve driver safety after a fatal crash in 2012 that killed seven people on the way to Tokyo Disneyland, but there were several similar crashes last year, including one in which two people died and more than two dozen were injured.

The Asahi TV network quoted an anonymous survivor of Friday’s crash as saying that almost all 39 passengers were asleep when the crash happened.

Another survivor, identified only as a university student, told public broadcaster NHK that the bus swayed before going off the road. He said he got stuck in a corner of the vehicle when it came to a stop.

“I desperately tried to get out and struggled, and the next thing I remember was I was outside,” he said.

There was no snow or ice on the road surface in the area, located about 180 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Tokyo, and no visible skidding.

Most of the passengers were ski enthusiasts in their late teens and early 20s, according to the Tokyo-based ski tour operator Keyth Tour.

The company’s package tours are popular with college students and other budget skiers and snowboarders.

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