3 drown after car caught in flash flood at campsite


Police in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, said Sunday that a mother and her two children drowned after the car they were in was caught in a flash flood as they were leaving a campsite following heavy rain on Friday night. The body of Rumi Omori, 42, was found late Friday night, while the bodies of her daughter Mana, 9, and son Gaifu, 7, were found Saturday morning, TBS quoted police as saying.

According to police, the car, driven by Rumi's husband Shinya Omori, 43, was hit by a powerful surge of water as it tried to cross the Kochi River at around 8 p.m. Friday. The family had been camping at the Nishi Tanzawa camping ground.

Local river management officials estimated the water force as being 100 times greater than normal, TBS reported.

According to the weather bureau, more than 51 millimeters of rain fell in the 30 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Omori told police afterwards that there had been no alert from the campsite manager to evacuate, but that he decided it would be safer to cross the river, where his family had camped, to the main campsite on the other side. Police said that as the family's car crossed the river, which was ankle-deep at the time, it was caught in a surge of water one meter deep, TBS reported.

Police said the car overturned. Although Omori was able to get out, his wife and two children were swept away, police said.

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He decided to drive his car across a river in pounding rain?!? The mind boggles.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Jeff, not only once! The first crossed the river to find a secluded camping area, then when it started to rain he crossed again to go and get some supplies, at which time some locals told him it was dangerous to camp there. so he went back to pick them up, crossed again, then finally tried to cross the final time, but the water was raging then, and three family members perished! What a foolish man.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Japanese media are reporting that the owner of this campsite has been cited numerous times for illegally altering the river by repeatedly enlarging the sandbar where this family was camping. Apparently he reinforced it every time some of it got washed away. And promoted that part of his campground as an area accessible by four wheel drive vehicles. He has been taken to court by the prefecture, I think they said, and lost the case, but has appealed so that is still in progress. Other campground owners in the area say if was a tragedy just waiting to happen.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Its so easy to underestimate the power of water. Terribly sad story.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So, so sad. A million times worse when people die having fun. I bet this will be used as an excuse to keep kids inside by some parents who prefer to have their kids playing video games inside. Go outside, be safe and have lots of fun!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

What an idiot to put his precious family in imminent danger and he survives I am sure he will never recover from this tragedy. RIP mom and children

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Sad, RIP.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think you can call this tragedy a a man-made disaster (neglect by the campsite operators). They have been cited (administrative guidance) six times in six years. Their business (license) should have been suspended.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

camping on or near a river is very, very dangerous because of flash floods. even rain 50 km away can create a flash flood where you are camping.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Here in America,People do the same thing weathermen and women has told us not drive in high water or flash to floors. Because you can be swept matter if in Japan you best believe it is in america as well.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Thats really sad, the campside manager needs to be fired for telling them it was safe to cross!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The worst part is, had they family stayed put at their midstream campsite they would have been just fine. When police and rescuers got to the scene their campsite, complete with all of their gear and equipment, was untouched by any river water and remained as the family had left it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like some of this, at least, lies with the campsite operator. A terrible, preventable, tragedy. RIP.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In case anyone's interested in seeing what the camp site looks like...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tragic and avoidable ... Darwin Award please ....

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Thanks for that link to the TV news. It seems if they had stayed put near the tent in the car, they might have had a chance. I guess the guy (or he and his wife) panicked and wanted to get out. If the water was already raging, it really was bad judgement. I've been near a creek just when it started raining, but it had been raining for hours upstream, and someone said, Watch out for flash flooding. I looked at the little stream and said, Yeah, yeah. Ten minutes later, the water rose about ten feet and was raging brown and turbulent. We were well out of the way of danger but if we'd been closer, it would have been tragic. I feel sorry that this happened. He lost his wife and kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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