A boy in Nakama, Fukuoka died of a suspected heatstroke on Thursday, July 29, after he was left alone for nine hours inside of a locked school bus by allegedly negligent school authorities.

Toma Kurakake, a 5-year-old boy, was reportedly left in a locked school bus after a staff member of the Futaba nursery school who was assigned to check if all the kids have alighted the vehicle neglected to check if the boy was still on the bus, according to Japan Today.

“I was aware of [the boy's] boarding, but [I] thought he got off the bus,” the nursery school head said. “I didn’t check whether all the kids got off.” The nursery school head is also the one who drove the bus to the school.

The boy's mother called the school after Kurakake did not come home, after which they found Toma’s body on the bus. They brought Kurakake to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the health facility.

The autopsy report said that he died at around 1 p.m. from a heatstroke.

Toma’s mother rushed to the hospital after hearing the news from the school. “He looked to be in a lot of pain, as if he were crying, ‘Mom, help me,’” she said, according to the Mainichi.

“Did he suffer greatly in the bus? Why didn’t they get him off the bus? I can’t believe why he is not here today. Why only my son …,” the mother said, grieving about the loss of her child.

Toma’s grandmother is angry about the death and the neglect of the school. “ I can't forgive the kindergarten,” she said.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, the school head who drove the bus did not make it a habit to collect the children’s bus cards to mark off attendance, and she also neglected to check the inside of the bus before she locked it.

Bus cards are supposed to be collected by the school when they board the bus to check the attendance or absence of the children. The school’s bus service was stopped on the morning of July 30.

Toddler Toma Kurakake reportedly died in a school bus in Fukuoka after being locked in for nine hours by school officials. This is a representational image. Photo by Thomas Park on UNSPLASH

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