Missing taxi with 93-year-old passenger found after 27 hours

KAGOSHIMA —

Police in Kagoshima said Monday a taxi carrying a 93-year-old woman had been located after the vehicle went missing for 27 hours. The 71-year-old driver was found at the bottom of a nearby cliff and is in a coma.

According to police, the driver, Katsuo Maruyama, picked up the woman, Tomiko Hanaoka, at her son’s home in Murasakiboro, Kagoshima City, at around 1 p.m. on Saturday to take her back to her nursing home in Kotokujidai, Fuji TV reported. However, the driver, who had no GPS system in his taxi or a cell phone, apparently mistook the nursing home for another elderly care facility. After informing the dispatcher on the radio that he was “on his way to Kotokujidai,” there was no further contact with the taxi. At the time the vehicle went missing, it was raining in Kagoshima City. 

Police said that at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, the taxi was discovered off a mountain road in Irisacho, a town that is even further away from the initial destination. The taxi had gone off the road and fallen into a ditch. At 6:15 p.m. on the same day, the missing taxi driver was found unconscious after falling 30 meters off a cliff by the side of a road.

Police said Hanaoka told them that the driver had gotten lost and suggested they remain in the taxi on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, Maruyama left the taxi to find help and did not come back. Police believe he lost his footing and fell off the cliff. 

Hanaoka was not hurt, police said.

Japan Today

  • 4

    Maria

    Is the woman ok? the last paragraph suggests so, but it's hard to tell. What a terrible ordeal for them both. I hope the guy makes it out of the coma. his company has a lot of explaining to do...

  • -3

    Goodlucktoyou

    71 year old taxi driver says it all. These people are responsible for people's lives. Still better than driverless cars though.

  • 2

    Wakarimasen

    Combined age of 164...........

  • 3

    Disillusioned

    Gees! You couldn't make this stuff up! The 71 year old taxi driver gets lost and spends the night in the taxi with his 93 year old customer? Then, he falls off a cliff while trying get help in the morning? I think it's about time to make all Japanese taxis to have GPS navigation and an emergency locator. This kind of inside my should not happen in this day and age.

  • 0

    Johny Shaftman

    It's bad enough having 70yr old driving on the street, so how is it possible there is no legislation the forbid 70yrs or over to have a taxi license? Taxi drivers are responsible for peoples lives.

  • 1

    Dennis Bauer

    Yeah, the article is somewhat unclear, should have started with the information that the 93 year lady was found unharmed, not wait until the last sentence, it is not a movie.

  • 1

    englisc aspyrgend

    Many 70+ are perfectly capable of driving safely, I know several taxi drivers over 70 who have no problem at all, I also know of a 20 something taxi driver who scares the shit out of me and a lot of customers refuse to have him.

    On another point why didn't he radio in and get help from his dispatcher or other drivers? Are SatNavs unavailable?

    Trackers are quite common in taxis so the company can manage the fleet economically.

    This article leaves more unexplained than it explicates.

  • -1

    toshiko

    Cell phones are becoming very important now.

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