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Two boys aged 3 and 4 hit by train in Yamanashi; one dies

32 Comments

Two boys aged 3 and 4 were hit by a train in Showacho, Yamanashi Prefecture, on Monday afternoon.

The boys were taken to a hospital in Kofu. Police said the 3-year-old boy died of his injuries at around 8 p.m., while the 4-year-old boy is in a serious condition.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 5:40 p.m. on the JR Minobu line in a residential area about 300 meters from Kokubo Station.

Fuji TV quoted a JR Tokai official as saying the driver saw the two boys on the tracks about 100 meters ahead. He applied the emergency brake and sounded the whistle, but he couldn't stop the two-car train in time.

The boys lived nearby and apparently often played near the tracks, local residents said.

A 1.5-meter fence runs beside the tracks on both sides in the area but police said there are spots along the line where there is no fence.

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32 Comments
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RIP little one. As for the other kid: come on keep on fighting!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

OMG, just imagine the agony of the driver trying to stop the train for 100 m and being powerless to do so... RIP young one!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There are a lot of areas where the railroad companies do not locate any fences above all rural areas. The society and parents must teach children to keep off the tracks.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Often played near the tracks" 3 and 4 year olds. An accident waiting to happen. So sad. Won't even ask why the parents were unaware of their whereabouts.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Parents??? Really? You're going to let your very young kids play near train tracks???

Poor kids!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The boys lived nearby and apparently often played near the tracks, local residents said.

And nobody ever thought to say anything about this to the children or their parents?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Poor kids. Died due to the lack of care by their care givers. I see this ALL the time around my place. Young kids outside, not adult supervision. I do not understand it for the life of me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Really, a two-car train slowing down 300 meters before (or accelerating after) the station (probably at a speed of 40km/h) cannot come to a full stop within 100 meters? 100% driver's fault!

-35 ( +1 / -36 )

@Patrick Spohn - you should take some time to comment again and blame the kids for not hearing the whistle and getting off the tracks. I mean really? Two kids can't get off a single track before a train hits them? tsk

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Playing on the tracks once is one too many times. Yet locals say they often played by/on the tracks. Major parenting and society fail.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So, the residents that "often saw the kids playing near the tracks" never said anything? Or did they and it was just kids being kids and not listening. I'm not saying it was the parents' fault, but did they know their kids were always playing there? Tragic, but something that could have been avoided.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've raised my child (nearly 6) within 10m of a fumikiri and 2m of a busy road and never, not one single time has she strayed from our property b/c A) She knows the Wrath of Khan would befall her if she did and B) why in the world would I let her wander off by herself without parental supervision.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No matter which way you cut it the parents are at fault. RIP

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@patric spohn - laws of physics suggest that a vehicle say at 40/kmh with co-efficient of friction (railway tracks est. 0.8) times gravity (9.81), you get 1600/(2 x 0.8 x 9.81) = 101.93m stopping distance. So if the unfortunate driver only sighted them 100m out (assuming doing 40/kmph) then no way could it have missed them. Sad that they were even on or around tracks in the first place - not a play ground.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'll echo the rest of the comments "where were the parents"???

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's no greater loss than a loss of a child. RIP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Upper Elementary School students I understand if they were playing near the tracks without parental supervision knowing full well that bad things can happen if they jump on the tracks. But 3-4 years old?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All - sumimasen! Miscalculated the stopping distance, apologies for incorrect number. At 100kmph, distance should be 49m, not taking into consideration of the mass of a two carriage train. DUH on my part! Nevertheless, should not detract from comments of train tracks being an inappropriate play area and apparent adult supervision neglect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what are young children doing unsupervised especially on a train tack or anywhere near it? Parents in japn seem to be brain dead

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Really is horrible.

They really should build fences along the tracks in that location (all the way). I saw video of the aftermath on the news and there is only a few metres seperating the track from densely packed housing (as is often the case with urban railways not built on viaducts in Japan).

Its all very well and good to tsk tsk the grieving parents, but simply changing the physical architecture to prevent kids from entering what are in effect corridors of certain death just a few metres from their homes would probably be a good idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tragedy! The train company should be held responsible for the negligence for they must have checked the fence around the tracks regularly. My deep condolences to the kids'family. I just cannot imagine how the parents and the driver must be feeling now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I saw the news this morning... what baffled me is that several times people witnessed that the kids were "playing" on the railroads... Then why the access to the railroads were closed so the kids couldn't get pass, on in that case any security measure taken????

But most importantly... WERE the heck were the parents?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mustafa, the problem is that you can not maintain 10s of thousands miles of fencing by rail way tracks, its impossible and if they tried the price of the rail tickets would treble over night, but either way train tracks and locos are exciting to children we've all been there, In the UK we have or did have safety awareness films like how to cross the road, playing on train tracks, and swimming in pool or river warning, they showed various perils that could be lurking in the darkness for children, lets face it all they want is fun! so why can't Japan do things like this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brian, yes, the public information films. I grew up with short films about the dangers of playing neat power lines, rivers. ponds, railways, rubbish dumps... in fact anywhere a child could get into trouble we had warning films... we even had the Green Cross Code to help teach kids how to cross the road safely. In all the times I've been to Japan I've never seen any shorts on TV about the dangers of playing near railways... and given the number of urban railways with level crossings without barriers I'd say that there really needs to be a serious look at educating people about the dangers associated with childhood. Look at the number of kids who drown in ditches or irrigation canals in Japan every summer... there really needs to be a programme of educating parents and children about the dangers all around them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Big Kids (the parents) raising kids is a receipt for disaster.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I disagree with "100% driver's fault" - nobody can be 100% at fault in a situation like this... put yourself in the driver's seat: you're leaving the station, your colleagues have all given you the "safe to proceed" sign, you accelerate out of the train station (I daresay 40km/h sounds too slow for an accelerated train), you spot two kids "about" 100 m ahead {for argument's sake it was actually 88 m} and slam on the brakes [they have safety systems on Japanese trains that make announcements to make sure passengers are warned], praying no passenger dies because of the emergency halt since as driver your PRIMARY responsibility is towards your passengers' lives... I do hope the surviving child pulls through, I feel very sorry that the 3-year-old had to die due to his parents' and Japanese society (yes, neighbors, authorities, railway company) negligence... but perspectives behoove that comments trying to put all the blame on the driver be tempered; wouldn't be objecting if it had been "majority of the blame is on the driver" but this 100% statement to me is offensive!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Poor driver. That would probably haunt you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They really should build fences along the tracks in that location (all the way).

No, they should not. Wildlife would be affected. How about... parents watch their kids? There's a thought.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No, they should not. Wildlife would be affected. How about... parents watch their kids? There's a thought.

I saw the location on the news - it's entirely residential. I don't think that wildlife is using it as a corridor.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Saturday, I was walking in a rural town near a busy street. Saw two 2yr olds holding hands on a street toward the intersection! I asked where their okaasan was. They were too young to talk. I got them to stay in the parking lot, a woman getting gasoline watched them as I got someone from the 7-11 to take them into the store. They started crying (of course!) and wanted to go back to their mommy..... so the gasoline customer and the 7-11 clerk carried them screaming toward the direction they pointed toward. I have no idea what happened then, but 7-11 at least knew about it and the police station was next door!! I kind of suspect they were at a nearby medical clinic and wandered off. I had never seen them before nor had others in the area. scary!!!

I cannot even phathom kids playing alone outside near a train track!! There was an area on the Chuo Line that people said was full of ghosts beckoning children to enter. Really scary place. It worked to keep children from going near.

Terrible for the child that died, the one struggling to stay alive, survivor's guilt looming, and the train driver who will NEVER be free of that image.....EVER!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Stranger, did you read the comment that said fences are needed? for ALL train routes. I do believe wildlife does exist out there...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, I read the comment that fences are needed in that location.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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