Six children have been killed near Tokyo after they were hit by a mobile crane while walking to school. The tragic accident occurred this morning in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, the children – five boys and a girl – included three nine year olds, one 10 year old and two 11 year olds.
Police say the crane crossed the centre line of the road and ran into the group of children, who were walking single file, before crashing into a house. The crane operator, Masato Shibata, 26, was arrested at the scene and tested for drugs and alcohol – none were detected.
The police and eye witnesses say that the driver was slumped over the steering wheel when the crane hit the children and the house.
The crane is owned by Kodachi Juki of Kanuma, Hiroko Kodachi a senior vice president of the company said: “Something irreparable has happened. We need to do as much as we can for the victims. Mr Shibata is a serious, hard-working man. We don’t know why such a thing has happened and we don’t know the details of the situation.
Shibata gained qualified as a crane operator in April 2009 and joined his current employer in May, completing his probation period in August.
This is just too tragic for words, our thoughts go out to all those involved, especially the parents of those young children.