5 dead after bus collides with truck in Hokkaido
SAPPORO – Five people died Sunday in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck in Hokkaido, which police believe occurred after the 4-ton truck strayed into oncoming traffic.
Following the crash at around 11:55 a.m. on a slow curve on Route 5 in Yakumo in southern Hokkaido, the male drivers of both vehicles were confirmed dead, along with three on board the bus. Twelve other passengers were taken to the hospital.
The bus left Sapporo earlier in the morning, heading southward to Hakodate with 15 passengers on board at the time of the accident, according to the bus operator, Hokuto Kotsu Inc.
The front part of the truck was smashed, and the area around the driver’s seat of the bus was also heavily damaged, including its dashboard camera.
The Sapporo-based company identified the bus driver as Takayuki Kozen, 64, with 15 years of bus driving experience. The company said he had never caused a major accident and had been off the previous two days.
The truck driver, 65, was experienced, said the truck owner, Nippon Clean Farm Ltd, adding the vehicle was carrying pigs from around Hakodate to a slaughterhouse in Yakumo.