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4-year-girl drowns after falling out of boat into river in Ibaraki

24 Comments

A 4-year-old girl drowned after she fell out of a boat into a river in Ryugasaki, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Tuesday morning.

According to police, the girl, Momoka Ochi, was in the boat, fishing with her father, mother and 2-year-old brother when she she and her brother fell overboard at around 11:30 a.m., Fuji TV reported. The father dived in and rescued the boy but could not find Momoka.

The mother called 119 and divers found Momoka's body about three hours later. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead at around 4 p.m.

Police said neither of the children were wearing life jackets and that the river was about three meters deep at the point where they fell in. They were sitting on a bench at the back of the boat when they leaned back and went over.

The family had come from Tsukuba for the day. The aluminum boat was 3.3 meters long and about 1.1 meters wide and the family had been out on the river since about 8 a.m.

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24 Comments
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neither of the children were wearing life jackets

The girl is dead because of a poor decision by the parents. Let's hear the excuses, or start citing possible scenarios where the parents did everything possible but somehow she still died.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Ugghhh.... I hate reading about entirely preventable deaths of children.

Sometimes parents get blamed for the death of their child when in reality it was nothing more than a horrible accident. This, however, is not one of those cases. Boats and lifejackets. Lifejackets and children. It is just one of the most basic rules of recreational boating.

I am sorry for the family. What a monumental family tragedy that will be a part of the rest of their lives.

Rest in peace, Momoka.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

the family had been out on the river since about 8 a.m.

Expecting toddlers to remain glued to the rear bench of a boat for hours on end?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RIP little

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad story. I wonder if they took their own boat or hired one locally? If they hired the boat then surely the rental company have a duty of care to ensure that users wear lifejackets? In a perfect world, maybe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RIP little one

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I suspect there are no life jacket requirements in Japan: once I rented a row boat at a lake in Japan and noticed all the families doing the same thing with small children on board and not a single kid was wearing a life jacket nor were any available to rent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There might not be a specific requirement, but I help out from time to time at a boat rental place and any time someone rents a rowboat we give them a life jacket. Whether the customer actually wears it the whole time isn't enforceable though.

A family trip, supposed to create good memories ends in tragedy instead. Poor little girl, and I hope the family can get beyond the suffering for her loss.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I went to Zushi Beach last summer. The lifeguards provided life jackets for people who wanted them. And the people running the inflatable floating playground there also made customers wear life jackets. Also, students in the local sailing club there all wear them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They were sitting on a bench at the back of the boat when they leaned back and went over.

The whole thing was a disaster waiting to happen if you saw the digital re-enactment on tv. The bench wasn't even bolted down to the boat. It was at the back of the boat. A bench on a wobbly boat offers no center low gravity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Dirk TSEP. 23, 2015 - 09:24AM JST I suspect there are no life jacket requirements in Japan: once I rented a row boat at a lake in Japan and noticed all the families doing the same thing with small children on board and not a single kid was wearing a life jacket nor were any available to rent.

Pretty much like the voluntary use of car seats for infants and toddlers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wonder if they took their own boat or hired one locally? If they hired the boat then surely the rental company have a duty of care to ensure that users wear lifejackets?

How dare you come up with a scenario where the parents may not face the blame. Do you not realize where you are posting? Get with the program. On JT, the parents are always at fault. Always.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

How dare you come up with a scenario where the parents may not face the blame. Do you not realize where you are posting? Get with the program. On JT, the parents are always at fault. Always.

We get your thinly-veiled sarcasm and I am sure you did it intentionally. Just who is at fault here then? The children? Parents, especially when they are at the side of very young children, as in this case, are ultimately responsible for making sure they are safeguarded. The parents could have brought their own life preservers or requested them from the rental company. I don't see, from the information given, how it could be looked at any other way.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How dare you come up with a scenario where the parents may not face the blame. Do you not realize where you are posting? Get with the program. On JT, the parents are always at fault. Always.

Okay smarty pants, give a a scenario where this was NOT the parents fault.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Just two days ago I saw three people heading to the lake with an inflatable boat and I saw, yeah, no life vests.

I actually have more than I need because some plans fell through. They cost me about 1000 yen at Hard Off. They are not even that expensive brand new.

But in this case, a pair of inflatable arm floaties could have saved that little girl's life. In fact, ONE on one arm could have.

And I am not even getting into conditions at the river just a couple weeks after downpours and a flood. But I know that river and I would not take other adults on it except in the best of conditions.

And here is another fun thing to ponder: Its hard as hell to find a lake that will allow boats in Japan anymore. And that may well explain why they were on that river instead of a lake, which with no current, is much safer. We may also have the stingy old men of Japan to blame for this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland,

How dare you come up with a scenario where the parents may not face the blame. Do you not realize where you are posting? Get with the program. On JT, the parents are always at fault. Always.

OK, I sort of understand the genesis of this comment. From time to time, an article about the death of a yohg child is posted on JT and based on the facts in the article, it is pretty clear that it was just a terrible accident. Or in some cases, there are not enough facts and details to determine exactly why the child died. Nevertheless, some commenters will post comments that engage in back-seat parenting and second-guessing, either explicitly or implicitly blaming the parent(s) for the tragedy.

So, I understand what you are saying. However, I am not sure this is one of those cases. The reason I say that is this. If a young child is riding in a car without being in a baby/child seat and dies/is injured in an accident, one can reasonably say that the parent (if they are the one driving) is negligent. Because in this day and age, everyone knows that babies and young children should be in child seats.

Equally, at least in terms of how I grew up and the world I grew up in, the idea of even an adult getting into a small boat, any boat, when doing recreational boating without wearing a life jacket was just a no-no. And it was doubly true for children.

So, in that sense, I think the sentiment here is that the parents should have insisted on life jackets and not allowed their children in the boat without life jackets. As a normal preventive safety measure.

I would be interested in the parent's response to a question as to the failure to use life jackets. Maybe they just lacked the common sense and/or experience to know that life jackets should be a must. Dunno.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Momoka Ochi, was in the boat, fishing with her father, mother and 2-year-old brother when she she and her brother fell overboard..."

One child falling overboard is an accident.. but TWO children falling overboard is most definitely NOT an accident!!! :-(

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Complete stupidity you get a boat you were a life preserver it's like god damn seatbelts here to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WOW according to this article the parents were doomed or asking for trouble once they got on the boat and entered the water there was nothing but an accident waiting to happen. No life jackets, the children sitting on a bench at the back of the boat when they leaned back and went over. What were the parents thinking kids can drown in a bath tube if left unattended!!! The parents Totally slept on this one!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

TheGodfatherSEP. 23, 2015 - 06:57PM JST One child falling overboard is an accident.. but TWO children falling overboard is most definitely NOT an accident!!! :-(

There is no such thing as an "accident" nor did this likely happen "on purpose." However, the child is dead due to negligence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jeff Huffman - "nor did this likely happen "on purpose."

Please read the article again... "The aluminum boat was 3.3 meters long and about 1.1 meters wide"

That is NOT a big boat. If the parents did not want their children to drown they would put one parent at the front and one parent at the back and the children in the middle... so at least one parent can see AND TOUCH the children at all times.

The boat was NOT a big boat... and it was very easy to ACCIDENTALLY shove the kids overboard... :-(

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hate to join the armchair lifeguard comment race, but even as I was reading just the headline I was thinking: ...life jackets?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Little kids are top heavy because their heads are big and heavy in proportion to their bodies. So these toddlers could easily have toppled while leaning over to look into the water. If one started to fall and grabbed the other, they would both have gone over. This family shouldn't have been out in deep water in an unstable boat like the one described. Small children need to watched every moment near water.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Children should always wear lifejackets in boats. It wouldn't be a bad idea for adults also to wear them. But not everyone knows this, in the same way not everyone knows to buckle their seatbelts while riding in a car. In this case, lacking this knowledge cost dearly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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