SAPPORO (majirox news) — Swift action by a passenger averted an accident when their charter bus driver suffered an apparent heart attack on a Sapporo highway in Hokkaido prefecture on the afternoon of Oct. 12, according to police.
The passenger who was not unidentified pulled the bus over to safety when the driver suddenly lost consciousness.
Atsushi Takahashi, 48, a Eniwa Hokkaido Transportation Co. bus driver, was taken to a hospital in the city of Chitose, where he was pronounced dead.
The bus was going 80 kilometers (50 miles), which was within the legal limit, when it suddenly hit the guardrail of the highway. The driver had lost consciousness his head falling over the steering wheel, when a 46-year-old male passenger pulled the emergency brake handle and drove the bus to the shoulder of the highway, according to passengers. The bus stopped, and none of the 26 passengers were hurt.
The passengers, all company officials who had gathered for training, were on their way to the New Chitose Airport.