A bullet train en route to Tokyo reportedly struck and killed a 52-year-old man on Thursday afternoon, but the man’s death wasn’t uncovered until some 20 miles later, where authorities made a grisly discovery.
When the train’s driver heard the sound of the impact, he didn’t send a report to the operation center, as he was supposed to do, according to the Japan Times. JR-West, the operator of the line, claimed that the driver didn’t report the sound because he believed the train had struck a small animal.
Another train driver noticed a large crack in the nose of the train and reported it to the operation center. The center then ordered the driver to make an emergency stop. According to Asahi Shimbun, when police investigated the train, they found human body parts inside the crack. Other body parts were then found near a tunnel in the city of Kitakyushu, where the tragic incident occurred. Authorities are reportedly treating the case as a suicide.
Japan’s Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii told The Japan Times he ordered JR-West to investigate the driver’s decision to not report the sound.
JR-West vice president Yoshihisa Hirano apologized for the incident and provided more details at a news conference on Friday. After one of its bullet trains was found to be leaking oil in December, the company released a new policy earlier this year instructing drivers to stop the train whenever they hear an abnormal sound and can’t immediately confirm that there is no safety hazard.
If you or someone you know is having a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.