• Kyodo News


Tokyo Dome Corp. was searched Tuesday by police over a fatal accident Sunday in which a 34-year-old man fell to his death from an amusement park ride.

Fumiaki Kuranouchi was on the Spinning Coaster Maihime, a roller coaster with revolving cars, at the Tokyo Dome City Attractions in Bunkyo Ward when he fell from a height of 7 to 8 meters at around 12:40 p.m. Sunday. The ride reaches a speed of 39.6 kph along a 305-meter-long track.

Investigative sources said the amusement park operator is suspected of professional negligence resulting in the man’s death after police found safety flaws in the ride’s operating manual.

There were no specific instructions in the manual about confirming that the safety bar for each passenger is fastened before starting the ride, the sources said, adding that the confirmation steps had only been taught “verbally” by one worker to another, including part-time employees.

According to company sources, the manual doesn’t require workers to physically check that all safety bars are secured.

Prior to the incident, a female temporary worker was making the checks and the manager of the roller coaster section, a contract employee, was with her, but the supervisor didn’t instruct her to physically check the bars before starting the ride, according to the investigative sources.

At other times, supervisors weren’t present during the checks and temp workers were responsible for examining the bars and starting the roller coaster, they added.

The police are seeking to determine whether the company provided adequate safety training to its workers.

The amusement park was involved in another moving-ride accident last May, when a nylon part weighing about 100 grams fell about 4.5 meters and slightly injured a park employee in the back, the Bunkyo Ward Office said.

Given Sunday’s fatal accident, ward officials urged Tokyo Dome under the Building Standards Law to stop running the Spinning Coaster Maihime, which repeats spins and turns on a short track, and investigate what caused the accident.

Later in the day, Tokyo Dome President Shinji Kushiro offered an apology for the fatal accident.

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