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Truck may have taken unfamiliar road, struggled to maneuver before fatal collision with train near Tokyo
From:Xinhua  |  2019-09-06 20:01

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TOKYO, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- A fatal collision between a truck and a commuter train in Yokohama, near Tokyo, may have been caused by the truck's driver struggling with the steering wheel on an unfamiliar road before entering the crossing where the vehicle was struck by the train, local media reported Friday.

Video footage taken by a security camera near the site of the collision shows Michio Motohashi, 67, who was killed after the express train plowed into his truck on the Keikyu Line a day earlier, derailing part of the train and injuring 35 people, struggling to make a right turn to enter the crossing.

The truck was coming from a narrow side street, the video shows, with Motohashi struggling to maneuver the vehicle backwards and forwards and left and right to enter the crossing, suggesting the driver was unfamiliar with the road.

According to train operator Keikyu Corp., the vehicle, while struggling to make the turn, was hit by the crossing barrier, yet continued onto the level crossing where the 12-meter-long truck became stuck and was hit by the eight-car express train.

The transport company for which Motohashi was working, said he was delivering fruits from Yokohama to Narita. They said, however, that the narrow side road he was struggling to maneuver on was not part of the route he was supposed to have taken.

The police and Keikyu Corp., meanwhile, are also investigating why the train could not stop in time as the obstacle detection device at the crossing was functioning normally, which should have alerted the train driver to apply the brakes.

Keikyu Corp. has verified the obstacle detection device had been triggered by the stranded truck and a warning signal activated to alert the train's driver.

The train's operator said that the warning signal was visible before the train came within 600 meters of the crossing and as such a train traveling at 120 kilometers per hour should have been able to come to a halt before the crossing, if the emergency brakes were applied in time.

The driver of the train, who was carrying around 500 passengers at the time, said the emergency brakes were applied, but that the collision with the truck could not be avoided. The truck burst into flames on collision, with the truck's driver pinned under the train.

Keikyu has said that trains in the area will not resume full services until Saturday.