Approximately 20 minutes after an elderly woman leapt in front of an express train, a conductor threw himself from an elevated train track down the line.
A bizarre succession of suicide attempts took place on the morning of 21 September along the Kintetsu Nara Line running through Higashiosaka City, Osaka.
First, at about 10:35 am a woman in her 70s jumped in front of an express train headed for Kobe as it ran through Kawachi Kosaka Station. No motive has been discovered and soon after the woman was pronounced dead at the hospital. None of the 900 passengers aboard the train were hurt, but the incident caused delays all along the train line leading into downtown Osaka, the third busiest stretch of railway in the prefecture.
Then, at approximately 11:00 am, four stops down at Higashi Hanazono Station, a conductor was standing on the platform in the middle of the station politely dealing with a small crowd of five or six people demanding buses and wanting to know who to blame.
According to tweets from witnesses, the conductor was also getting verbally abused by the disgruntled passengers for about ten minutes. Then, some people reported hearing the 26-year-old employee say “No more. Let me die.”
He removed the cap and jacket of his uniform and threw them onto the track. He then jumped down himself and ran to the end of the platform and then across the tracks. Once there, he scaled the barrier and jumped over the edge of the elevated train track, falling about 7.5 meters (25 feet) to the ground.
▼ The tracks around Higashi Hanazono Station have only recently been converted to an elevated train line, so much of the surrounding area is blocked off due to the construction work.
The conductor was said to be conscious when ambulances arrived to take him to hospital. However, he suffered heavy injuries including fractured bones in his chest and hip. Kintetsu Railway issued an apology for their employee’s “inappropriate behavior.”
▼ A brief video showing the discarded uniform
書き方が悪かったからもう一度。 河内小阪で人身事故あって、電車ただでさえ止まってるのに何故か東花園の駅員が逆ギレして線路に飛び降りて消えました https://t.co/aqGL1Cg1A7—
萩悠@文スト二期待機 (@syuyumina_00) September 21, 2016
It is unclear yet whether the conductor has any mental illness, was overworked, or was the victim of stress caused by the excessive behavior of irate passengers. Incidents of verbal and physical abuse against train station staff are frequent enough that some stations must hang warning posters reminding passengers not to attack staff.
Image: JR East
At the very least this incident should serve as a reminder for those considering suicide: Our lives and deaths are often connected to others’ in ways we can’t imagine. If you or someone you know is in Japan and having suicidal thoughts, there are people here to help. Click here for more info.