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.