The combined talents and bravery of three individuals narrowly prevented a traffic disaster from getting out of hand.
Luck or fate is something that swings both ways. One day you find some money on the ground only to accidentally leave it in a vending machine another day. Sometimes these swings are so intense one can only watch in amazement of them.
For example, at about 7:50 a.m. on the morning of 23 May along National Route 464 running through Shiroi City in Chiba Prefecture, a truck driver had a heart attack while on the road. With its driver having lost consciousness, the two-ton vehicle continued down the highway out of control.
▼ Approximate site of the incident
Coming up behind the truck was Keizo Nagahara in his passenger car on his way to work at an automobile company in Inzai City. Nagahara noticed clouds of white smoke coming from the truck as it scraped against the wall on the side of the road.
He pulled up alongside and noticed the driver slumped over and not holding the steering wheel. Nagahara also realized an intersection lay about 500-meters (1/3 mile) in front of them. Quickly, he did what some would consider unthinkable and pulled directly in front of the truck.
At this point it should be noted that as part of Nagahara’s work, he happened to have acquired a “Driving Safety Manager’s License,” qualifying him to instruct his company’s drivers on avoiding accidents. In order to get the license he had to watch and study numerous videos on traffic accidents.
▼ Driving Safety Manager’s License
This made him aware of both the horrific damage that the truck could potentially cause, and that at the speed it was traveling, he was able to stop it…at the expense of his own car.
By applying his breaks he was able to create a controlled crash between himself and the runaway truck that brought both to a stop. Nagahara quickly got out of the car to check on the truck driver, but as her neared the cab he noticed a wave of rush-hour cars approaching. He swiftly grabbed a flare from the truck and ignited it, guiding the approaching cars safely through while also dialing emergency services.
One of the cars driving past the stream of smoke from Nagahara’s flare was Miyako Ito, a 50-year-old nurse on her way to a shift at Secomedic Hospital in Funabashi City. Sensing someone was hurt, she pulled over and ran back to the truck. While Nagahara continued to manage traffic, Ito climbed into the truck and found that the driver had stopped breathing. However, he was too big for her to move by herself.
Luckily at the same time, 39-year-old Satoshi Kobata had also passed by and saw his co-worker Nagahara standing on the highway. Pulling over he too rushed out and, seeing Ito struggling with the large driver, helped pull the man out of the cab.
Ito was well aware that without oxygen the driver’s time was quickly running out. With no good options she immediately began to perform CPR while desperately talking to him in an effort to bring him back to consciousness. However, there was no response after 20 minutes.
By this time, paramedics arrived and the driver was rushed to a Nippon Medical School Chiba Hokuso Hospital in Inzai City by helicopter.
According to recent reports, the doctor in charge said that in cases like this, “a patient even being resuscitated into a vegetative state would have been a miracle.” However, the truck driver was able to regain consciousness and can even speak. This was all thanks to Ito’s efforts which the doctor described as “perfect CPR.”
However, at a ceremony held at the Inzai Police Department, Ito deflected the praise, saying that without any equipment she could only rely on her own hands to help the victim, and she couldn’t have focused on that it weren’t for the other two who had responded to the crisis.
LH MAGAZINE (@Life_hacker_net) June 20, 2017
Kobata expressed modesty at his own small but crucial role saying, “The most important thing is that he is recovering without any adverse effects. It’s good we could help.”
Nagahara reflected on the incident saying, “I’m more happy learning that the man had a family. I think life is strange how we three were there by chance.”
Surely just as a random stroke of luck caused the driver to go into cardiac arrest in the middle of operating a truck, an even more improbable fluke brought skilled individuals to his aid. But even more powerful and important than luck were their unreluctant decisions to get involved.