The Tokyo Reporter

Taxi driver and elderly passenger found 27 hours after going missing in Kagoshima

A taxi driver was found at the bottom of a steep cliff and his 93-year-old passenger inside his cab some 27 hours after they went missing (TV Asahi)

KAGOSHIMA (TR) – A taxi driver has been found at the base of a cliff and his elderly passenger inside the cab nearby after the pair had gone missing for more than one day in Kagoshima City, TV Asahi reported on Monday (Jan. 9).

Tomiko Hanaoka, 93, and the driver, 71-year-old Katsuo Maruyama, were found at around 4 p.m. on Sunday after they went missing on Saturday afternoon, or 27 hours since he last made radio communication.

Police officers found Hanaoka unharmed in the mountains of Kagoshima City inside the vehicle after a resident reported finding a taxi that had run off the road. Maruyama was later discovered unconscious at the bottom of a 30-meter cliff. He is currently in critical condition.

According to Fuji News Network (Jan. 9), the taxi departed from the residence of the son of Hanaoka in Murasakiboro for a rest home in Kotokujidai at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

However, Maruyama made a mistake as to the route and later communicated with his dispatch center to say that he was again headed to Kotokujidai.

At some point in the journey, the vehicle veered into a ditch. Hanaoka said she stayed overnight inside the vehicle. “Mr. Maruyama went to get help and never returned,” Hanaoka is quoted.

Police suspect that Maruyama fell off the cliff accidentally while seeking assistance.

Upon his recovery, Maruyama will be questioned by police about the incident.

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