• Kyodo


Forty-six people were injured, seven seriously, when a sightseeing bus plunged off a sloping road and flipped over Wednesday in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, police said.

Police later arrested the driver, Keizo Katsuhara, 44, on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in injury.

According to investigators, the accident occurred a little after 11 a.m.

The bus, operated by Itsukaichi Kanko Co. of Akiruno in western Tokyo, was traveling down the slope when its brakes failed. The vehicle was unable to negotiate a curve and flipped over after hitting an earthen bank at the side of the prefectural road, landing on a grassy area.

Although those inside were temporarily trapped, rescue workers who received a call from the bus tour guide were able to get them out.

The passengers had left Hachioji in western Tokyo at 7 a.m. on a “mystery tour,” in which they were not told where they were going.

The tour involved several sights around Atami, a famous hot-spring resort near Tokyo. The bus had just left a plum garden for its next destination when the accident occurred, police said.

In June, another sightseeing bus lost control on the same road. One person died and 33 others were injured in the accident, in which it was determined that the bus driver rode the brakes during the vehicle’s descent until they failed.

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