Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crane runs over, kills six children

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


UTSUNOMIYA, Tochigi Pref. — Six elementary school students were killed Monday morning when they were run over by a mobile crane while walking to school in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, police said.
News photo
Deadly deviation: A mobile crane sits in debris after hitting and killing six children in an accident Monday in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture.KYODO PHOTO
The 26-year-old driver, Masato Shibata, was arrested at the scene. He is believed to have crossed the center line and run into a group of children, killing five boys and a girl and leaving another boy seriously injured.
According to the Kanuma board of education, other children were watching the accident when the five were killed. The board dispatched counselors to treat the children for possible psychological trauma.
The six children killed were identified as Mika Sekiguchi, Keita Shimozuma and Taiga Ihara, all 9, 10-year-old Kyoya Hoshino, and Takuma Omori and Manato Kumano, both 11, according to the police.
"Something irreparable has happened. We need to do as much as we can for the victims," said Hiroko Kodachi, senior vice president of Kodachi Juki, the Kanuma-based firm Shibata was working for.
"(Shibata) is a serious, hard-working man. We don't know why such a thing has happened. We don't know the details of the situation," she said.
According to an eyewitness, the crane ran into the children as they were walking single file along the road.
The driver was slumped over the steering wheel when his vehicle hit the children and came to a halt on the premises of a nearby house, according to eyewitnesses.
No alcohol was detected in Shibata, the police said.
According to Kodachi, Shibata was hired on probation around last May and became a regular worker in August.
He obtained a license to drive mobile cranes in April 2009, Kodachi said.
The scene of the accident is about 170 meters from Kitaoshihara Elementary School. The one-lane road does not have a guardrail.

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