Bus-car crash kills one, injures 45 in Aichi

Kyodo

One man died and 45 people were injured Saturday after a car collided head-on with a tour bus on an expressway in Aichi Prefecture, police said.

Footage taken from a camera on the bus showed the car spinning into the oncoming lane and crossing the center divider before crashing into the front of the bus, according to the president of Toshin Kanko Bus Co.

Masamitsu Ikuma, a 62-year-old doctor who was driving the car, was pronounced dead at the scene on the Tomei Expressway in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, the police said.

Among the 47 people on the bus, six suffered broken bones and the others minor injuries, the police said.

The tour bus was on a one-day cherry-picking and shopping trip to the city of Minami Alps in Yamanashi Prefecture. It left from neighboring Toyokawa in the morning, said Travel Tokai, which planned the tour.

A passenger in her 60s said the scene was chaotic with people screaming for help. She said the bus driver had a head injury and couldn’t move. She was sitting in the middle of the bus and escaped with minor injuries.

“I was going to enjoy the trip. It was really scary,” she said from a hospital.

At a nearby restaurant, 20 to 30 injured passengers were waiting for medical help. While many were able to walk there unassisted, some were bleeding from head wounds after being struck by broken glass, a restaurant employee said.

At the restaurant, broken glass was scattered across the floor and those injured were applying ice to their faces and arms, the employee said.

The car involved is registered in Shizuoka Prefecture and was heading westward before the accident, police and firefighters said.

The accident closed the expressway between the Toyokawa Interchange in Aichi and Mikkabi Junction in Shizuoka for about five hours.