Photo: Toshin Kanko Bus Co
national

Driver's wife recalls surreal moment when car flew into bus

10 Comments

The wife of a tour bus driver who miraculously saved himself and passengers in a weekend collision on an expressway recalled Wednesday the surreal moment she saw a car flying toward the bus on which she was working as a tour guide.

"The moment I wondered why a car was flying over, it crashed. I heard screams and it did not feel real," Umeyo Yamamoto, 60, said at a press conference in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, four days after the crash.

In the incident that occurred Saturday morning, a car driven by a 62-year-old doctor jumped the dividing strip and rammed into the tour bus on the Tomei Expressway in Shinshiro in the central Japan prefecture.

Her husband Yoshimune, who managed to maneuver the bus to a safe halt despite the crash remains in hospital with a brain contusion and broken ribs among other injuries. The crash left the car driver dead and a total of 45 of the 47 people on the bus injured.

Umeyo said she bent down at the moment of impact. She saw her husband covered in blood on the driver's seat when the bus stopped and she screamed, "My husband is going to die!"

Despite the stench of fuel, she said she managed not to panic by talking with other passengers and calmly exited the bus with them.

The couple had asked the passengers to fasten their seatbelts three times after departing Toyokawa for a cherry-picking and shopping day trip to the Minami-Alps in Yamanashi Prefecture, a move that apparently helped to prevent fatalities.

Umeyo said such repeated requests were "not special," adding, "I am thankful that our customers complied."

She said her husband has told her he cannot remember the moment of the crash but said he was happy he was able to save the lives of the passengers.

The operator of the bus said the seatbelt instructions as well as Yoshimune's decision to apply an auxiliary brake while steering to the left had saved those on the bus.

Police suspect the car lost control after hitting a guard rail and jumped from a dividing strip to hit the front of the tour bus. They are still investigating the accident.

© KYODO

©2017 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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Seat belts save lives - a message so many people fail to heed in this country.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

she screamed, "My husband is going to die!"....Despite the stench of fuel, she said she managed not to panic...

No panicking happening there...

Anyway, it's nice to have a (mostly) happy ending to such a disaster.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seat belts "usually" save lives, but sometimes help to end them. My father was in an accident where he was "fortunately" ejected through his side window. If he had had his seatbelt on, he would have been killed by the steering wheel, which was driven through his seat.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Seat belts "usually" save lives, but sometimes help to end them.  that is on a very few rare occasions, seems your fathers vehicles design was the problem not the seat belt. I was involved in a major crash with my wife in 2004. We had a head on collision with another driver doing about 70kph (other drive was at fault) we were around 60kph. the impact was enough to bend the chassis of the car into a slight banana shape. if either my wife or I had not been wearing seat belts she and I would probably ended through the windscreen on the road in front.. dead !. instead I had a fractured kneecap/wrist and seat belt bruising my wife 4 broken ribs and a slightly rupture liver spending 3 weeks in hospital. Seat belts most definitely SAVE LIVES, dont be an idiot, wear them!!!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Granted it's a very few rare occasions, but it's still the case sometimes. And how can you say it's my father's vehicle's design, if you don't know what the vehicle was or the dynamics of the accident? That statement means nothing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I'm not trying to say don't wear seatbelts. I won't even put the car in drive unless everybody is wearing theirs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And how can you say it's my father's vehicle's design, if you don't know what the vehicle was or the dynamics of the accident?     well one of the main things manufacturers test for during a crash test is if the space in the vehicle is intruded by objects or the space is compressed enough to cause injury or death. SO its either your fathers vehicle is an old design or he was traveling at a very high speed. The steering rack of a vehicle should never protrude into the drivers space in an impact. A persons chance of survival drops dramatically should they leave the crash space of the vehicle, your father was a very lucky man

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm not trying to say don't wear seatbelts. I won't even put the car in drive unless everybody is wearing theirs. and neither do I

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And how can you say it's my father's vehicle's design

Steering wheel driven through the seat? This is either a very very old car, or an accident at a very high speed, usually unsurvivable. I tend to think that it was a very old car, driven normally. That your father survived it was due to sheer luck, (for example how can you guess he is going to land after being thrown out without a fatal injury?). Therefore is not at all relevant for this discussion. Seatbelts save lives, and only with a stupid amount of luck you might survive a serious accident without one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

(for example how can you guess he is going to land after being thrown out without a fatal injury?). Therefore is not at all relevant for this discussion.

It's not like he went driving around without his seat belts thinking "I'll prolly get ejected safely and survive a deadly accident", So your comment about guessing what was going to happen is not at all relevant to this discussion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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