Man kills 3-year-old daughter with weed cutter in gardening accident


A 3-year-old girl was killed by her own father in what police believe to have been a tragic accident.

According to police, Hiroto Haneda, 31, was cutting weeds in the garden of his home in Taketa, Oita Prefecture, with a brush cutter at around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, when his eldest daughter, Erika, approached him from behind, TV Asahi reported. Haneda told police that he was unaware that his daughter was behind him, and as he turned, she walked into the path of the spinning blade.

Erika sustained a laceration to her throat and was rushed to hospital where she died four hours later, police said. Police say they do not suspect foul play and that the cause of the accident is under investigation.

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I've been using the largest type electric cutter (a gasoline tank makes it too heavy) , for 10 years now. You should hold the thing level, and move your body in an semi-circle motion with your arms steady and locked at the elbows (takes less strength than swinging it with your arms) so the weed cutter remains at the same height. Hard to describe in print, but one foot slightly in back of the other, swing and then and step as you cut. People with no experience with one (me, when I started and now DH) tend to move the weed cutter back and forth in a pendulum swing, swinging it in an arc left to right, and hack away like it's a scythe, so that at the extreme left and right of the curve the blade ends up 2 1/2 to 3 feet off the ground. It's really dangerous.

The old men who use the largest gasoline cutters have to get a license to operate one, as you do with a chain saw any bigger that the dinky one at the home center. They do control the larger tools, and who can handle them here. Injuries are most often with Sunday gardeners who don't know how to use them.

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Apparently dad was a rookie on the weed cutter and his daughter was a total daddies girl and always wanted to be with him. Brutally tragic and I can imagine dad will be reliving it for the rest of he life, forever haunted by "what if".

As for these circular blade weed cutters, I am curious to the stats of injuries resulting from them; the cavalier attitude by the generally older male who typically wield them frightens me. Recently I was walking out of a homecentre and an old guy was walking in with a weed cuter slung over his shoulder, the exposed blade jutting at my eye level. I gave him a wtf look, he kept barreling on into the shop

Weed eaters,/whippersnippers barely handle light weeds and their nylon cord is impractical for real work. Japanese weeds are something else and if you have a large area needing cleaning like several hundred metres of riverbank, you need the right tools. Chainsaws, heavy duty weedcutters. Tools needing constant vigilance.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Very very sad. I hope the daughter RIPs and she didn't suffer much. I feel very sorry for the father, its hard to deal with being the cause of his child's death. It will take a lot of time for him to try and forgive himself and understand it was an accident if ever.

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Horrendous! My worst nightmare! I feel so sorry for everyone involved. The father must be beside himself with grief. A terrible tragic accident. RIP little one. My heart goes out to the family.

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OMG, I have used weed eaters since they came on the market nearly 40 years ago. Apparently Mr Haneda was operating one with a disc blade and his dear daughter, Erika, came up from behind; they are noisy machines and at 3 years old she was the right height for this tragedy to take place. My heart goes out to the family... a most unfortunate and bizarre accident. We can only imagine the grief.

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He'll never be able to forgive himself for this...

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In america we have the plastic cord ones...

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This story is the exact reason I don't help the local community with their clean up. They get about a dozen of these cutters and get the men to hack into stuff while the women and kids all walk around pulling weeds, its ssooooooooooooooo dangerous but they don't see what disaster could happen. Consequently they think I'm lazy but rather thought to be lazy than me or my wife dead.

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I feel very deep sympathy for this man and the family, but I've been amazed at some of the dangerous stuff being used by non-professionals in this country, not to mention the incredibly inattentive behavior of everyday individuals here. Those things are pretty much circular saws on the end of a stick. Most people wouldn't even let there child into the same room with a table saw, much less bandy one of them around without having an adult supervise any resident children. This article is a tragic illustration of how so called "common sense" is really often nothing more than blithely accepted common practice.

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because of the sad accident even reading this article is difficult. human life is very important,while making any kind of machine human safety should be considered strongly, especially the home-using and school-using machines should be made with full human safety and should be used carefully. The little angel have a peaceful soul and may God bless your parents with peace

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So sad. The guy will have nightmares for the rest of his life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tragic... RIP little one, may your parents and family recover from this tragedy and their loss.

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I used Makita (japanese brush cutter) for ripping off the weeds. I do not understand why did that father want to use blade for cutting weed. Sound like killing the deer with missile. Blade should be used for chopping the woods and trees. Once I hit with spinning nylon with my little dog when I turned around. However my dog has animal instinct to jump it backward. Therefore my dog did not get any form of injury.

Another thing is my spinning nylon is only two or three inches above the ground. In that case, that father hold the brush cutter too high from the ground. He should retire from weed control and lawn mowing business. He will feel guilty whenever he dose gardening. It is not good for safety reason.

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I feel so bad abt this terrible accident that I'm lost with words and I get three thumbs down? So are this people who are glad to see me sad? I really don't understand?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One has to constantly be aware that earth is a fatal place to be and just about any activity has built in possibilities for death or injury. But if you try to dislodge that toast from the toaster with a butter knife, you might electrocute yourself, but probably won't stab yourself to death. There are no accidental events on this earth......only tragic events. If it has a "cause" it is no "accident". One of my pet peeves; being told that accidents exist. If computer technology is ever widely used to prevent collisions of vehicles to cause death, it will finally be proved that all those previous deaths were not accidents, but the results of being hit by a metal vehicle and dying of the resulting insult.. When will the Media start calling these things events, not accidents. My sympathy to all who loved this child.

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This sucks. Has anyone every heard of a safety technology called Saw Stop? For circular saws to cut wood mostly but I wonder if it would have worked in this situation. Basically the microsecond the blade detects it has come into contact with flesh it lock stops immediately and just leaves a nick in the skin instead of tragic consequences. It has saved many fingers that got in the way of the cutting blade and I wonder if it could have saved this girl's life. Rest in peace little one!

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Tragic if true.

But a 3yrs old throat is quiet high up and I doubt she would have approached quietly. Most weed-whackers here got guards but those are removable as they are overseas.

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I don't know why you're thumbing down Tessa. As sad as this is, of course it was preventable. Unless the father was the only parent home at the time or didn't inform his spouse, mother, etc. that he was going to be using the weed cutter so the kids should be kept inside, he isn't to blame. Whoever was supposed to be watching the girl is. That doesn't make it less of an accident or less tragic but just because something is an accident doesn't mean it wasn't preventable. This was. Yes, kids run out the moment you turn your back. Yes, they are impossible to watch 24/7. That said, there are times when you put more focus on watching them, like when there's a pool in the yard or someone is backing a car out of a driveway or using power tools nearby. I am sorry for the family but this was preventable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yes, let's ban... toasters and butter knives as well. People could die from any of these!

A three-year-old has died, Strangerland. There are much safer alternatives to these guardless circular saws that would have prevented this horrific, nightmarish accident.

But hey, let's get some cheap laughs out of it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is so tragic. I hope someday the father can forgive himself.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So terribly sad! RIP 3 year old little girl

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I really don’t know what to say here. As a parent, you can't be everywhere all at once. As @Frungy said, a child of that age can, and most probably will, slip out of sight for moments at a time. Its not bad parenting, its just sheer bad timing on the little girl’s part. I believe the father would not have known his daughter was even outside at the time or I would guess that he would have taken better measures other than waving the blade around without regard. I sympathise for this poor father who not only had to watch his precious little girl die, but now must live with the fact that due to a series of unfortunate events, he was the catalyst for his daughter’s death.

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Oh god that is so sad to read, so sorry for the little girl and father

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These things are circular saws on long handles. Why aren't they banned?

Yes, let's ban cars, toasters and butter knives as well. People could die from any of these!

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The gasoline-powered ones have no guards on them, the smaller electrical ones do. If you have a lot of ground to cover though, the electric ones are impractical.

Susuki and other weeds you often find out in the country eat the string up so that you're changing reels after each usage. The string ones just aren't practical.

Why aren't they banned?

Because 99% of the time people don't get hurt.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why do they need to be a circular saw? We use ones with spinning nylon thread in Australia, and thats enough for even the toughest weeds. Sure it cant cut down a tree, but you should be using a saw for that anyway.

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All tools have a purpose, Even you, it seems

are you so naive to think that all dangerous tools should be banned? Did I say this?

I have plenty of power tools. My hedge trimmer has a triple trigger for safety. I disconnect my lawn mower the moment it's not in use, and my trimmer has plastic blades (I use two or sometimes three a day, but they're cheap). All here in Japan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Rest in Peace, little Angel. The parents lives are over now too - life can never be the same. This seems just a tragic, freakish accident.

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This is why I always tell my wife to keep the daughter (also 3) inside when I'm doing the lawn. I don't have one of those circular things but even the basic lawnmower could cause stuff to go flying at her. I wonder if this guy knew his daughter was outside with him or if she came out of nowhere.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I've seen these things in Japan and they have no safety guards on them. In Australia they are only allowed half of the blade exposed. Of course,there is nothing to say a safety guard would have prevented this tragedy though. Tragic end to his daughter's life and no doubt it is something he will never get over either.

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It was an accident. No-one is to blame.

It was a tragic accident, but an entirely preventable one.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Should have been using a weed wacker. Very sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My condolences to the family, it was a real tragedy.

YubaruAug. 13, 2013 - 08:34AM JST All tools have a purpose, are you so naive to think that all dangerous tools should be banned? This is a tragedy and I feel so sorry for the family, yet who was watching this young girl while Dad was working?

At 3 years old kids are big enough to do stuff on their own (like drawing), small enough to slip away unnoticed and in full rebellion (my daughter's favourite word was "No!"), She was probably drawing or something, her mother went to the bathroom or something, and she slipped outside to see what daddy was doing.

It was an accident. No-one is to blame.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I have no words to write anything!

-6 ( +5 / -10 )

These things are circular saws on long handles. Why aren't they banned?

Why aren't circular saws banned? They serve a purpose and when used properly are very handy, I have one, and like Tessa noted as well, my kids were taught from when they were young enough to walk to not ever come close to me when I was using it.

All tools have a purpose, are you so naive to think that all dangerous tools should be banned? This is a tragedy and I feel so sorry for the family, yet who was watching this young girl while Dad was working?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

These things are circular saws on long handles. Why aren't they banned?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Oh, how sad.

Whenever my dad was using heavy equipment - or even just the barbeque - we were trained from an early age never, ever to approach him.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Dreadful! I can't understand why those circular-saw things are even being used. They are an accident waiting to happen! And now it has. One of many, no doubt. Very sad.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RIP Erika. This is such a horrible story. Her family, especially the dad, must be going through the hell.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

very very unfortunate.

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Very tragic! Just remembered an old man very many yrs ago next to our town in Tochigi who accidentally killed himself with a similar weeding tool when he tripped over. Sometimes it pays to be lazy. My prayers for the family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OMG!!! This is horrible!

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