TSU, MIE PREF. – An elderly man died Saturday after being struck by part of a massive stone lantern that was knocked over by a bus in Ise, Mie Prefecture, police said.
The 100-kg traditional stone lantern fell from its 2.5-meter-tall perch onto 81-year-old Masanobu Nishizawa, crushing him. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, the police said.
The accident took place around 9:55 a.m. when the left rear-view mirror of the bus hit the structure, which was on the side of a road. The 45-year-old driver was attempting to pull up to a bus stop at the time of the acccident.
The driver was quoted by police as saying that he knew the stone lantern was there but that he failed to see it in time. None of the 10 passengers on the bus was hurt.
The upper part of the stone lantern was attached with wire and adhesive. There are about 330 similar lanterns in the prefecture, but in the three years since fiscal 2015 some 90 have been removed due to the risk of them toppling during an earthquake.