Japanese tourist dies after falling from trolley

Mike Roque
Mike Roque
Sylvia Leudtke
Sylvia Leudtke

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The man that fell off a trolley last night in front of Ala Moana Center has passed away.  An investigation is underway by both Honolulu Police and the E Noa Corporation which operates the trolley.

The trolley was making a left hand turn out of Ala Moana Center heading towards Waikiki.  During the turn the 71 year old Japanese visitor fell out, hit his head on the pavement and died later that night.

Police say there's nothing suspicious.  Speed, alcohol or drugs were not factors.  It appears to be a tragic accident.

"You can fall off pretty easy especially if the trolley is moving," said Mike Roque, a trolley driver.

Drivers have to watch the road so they can't always be watching passengers. The trolley involved in the accident can seat 35 people and 16 additional people can stand holding straps, bars and benches.  That trolley had no empty seats which would explain why he was standing, but he may have been in front of the yellow caution line near the trolleys entrance where there were no railings to catch him.

"It's very steep and if the trolley is turning you can easily lose your balance. That's why we always say our safety briefing before we take off and sometimes they don't even listen they just go on their own, they try to hop seats and fall down," said Roque.

The company is investigating.  That particular route from Ala Moana to Waikiki has 60 trolleys.  They've made nearly 400,000 round trips since it started in 1998 and carried 30 million people.  This is the first time someone has died from falling off.

"Let's face it, I'm 72 and I'm not as sure footed or as quick to see a danger as I was when I was 50," said Sylvia Leudtke, a passenger who had just got off the trolley.

Given the man was 71 years old, age could have been a factor since he was standing on the moving trolley.

"I can't imagine how a person could fall. I have hip replacements, and sometimes I will be unbalanced and maybe trip, but you grab hold of something," said Leudtke.

At this point the company isn't sure if they did anything wrong and doesn't know if it will change procedure moving forward.

All routes are running normally.

The victim's family is back in Japan.  The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai`i is offering assistance.

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