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Wow... insane race car crash - bursts into flames

W

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Pretty gruesome. Luckily, both drivers did survive. Fortunately for the Porsche driver, he was protected from the gas tank explosion, and for the Ferrari driver, his car was lefthand drive.

For further video, check out:

http://www.crashesonline.com/menu_sports.htm

and click the links entitled:

1998 Tetsuya Ota Crash 1
1998 Tetsuya Ota Crash 2
 
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Auto race organizers told to pay over fiery crash
The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday ordered auto racing organizers to pay 90 million yen in compensation to a driver who suffered 40 percent burns in a 1998 crash.

The court found six race sponsors and promoters responsible for failing to take sufficient safety measures and not limiting the speed of pace cars during preparation runs at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The court ruled in favor of former star racer Tetsuya Ota, 43, despite his written pledge to organizers that he would ``not seek compensation'' in the event of an accident.

Presiding Judge Tsuyoshi Ono said the statement-dubbed a death pledge and required by all drivers-``is extremely unfair and runs counter to public order and morals.'' The pledge aims to exempt organizers from responsibility despite them benefiting economically from races, Ono said.

Fuji Speedway, the race operator VICIC (Victory Circle Club) and TV Tokyo Corp. were among those held responsible under the ruling.

Ota had demanded 300 million yen in compensation from seven organizers for their failure to implement proper safety measures.

But the court rejected a claim against the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) on the grounds it is not responsible for individual races it officially recognizes.

According to the ruling, Ota was exposed to 800-degree flames for 50 seconds when his Ferrari smashed into another car in a chain collision during a national GT championship event at the Fuji Speedway track on May 3, 1998.

He suffered serious burns to over 40 percent of his body. More than five years after the accident, Ota is still unable to fully use his right arm and leg.

Ota argued that his injuries were caused by the seven organizers' delay in rescuing him following the crash.

Improved safety measures were introduced after the accident, including the introduction of a ``doctor car'' carrying medical and rescue specialists.

The ruling agreed the organizers had failed to take sufficient precautionary measures, such as having fire engines on standby-as is required-to extinguish fires and rescue drivers in 30 seconds or less.

But the court also ruled Ota made a mistake by not decelerating early enough.

A teary-eyed Ota applauded the ruling.

``It was as if I were suing my mother,'' Ota said. ``But because I love the sport, I hope racing will change. If safety precautions remain sloppy, I cannot encourage young people to take up racing.''

He said he hopes the ruling, which obliges organizers to douse fires and rescue drivers within 30 seconds, will serve as a catalyst for the ``true development of Japan's racing world.''

Ota decided to file the damages suit following reports on the incident by the JAF and race organizers.

JAF officials did not contact Ota when compiling their report, which said, among other things, that Ota was not wearing the fireproof face mask required when racing.

Ota denied the claim.

Also, the organizers' report to JAF said their team started fighting the blaze 20 seconds after the accident.

In fact, Ota was trapped in the wrecked car and engulfed in flames for much-longer-50 seconds-until fellow drivers extinguished the blaze.

``Without a TV crew who happened to be filming the incident, the truth would have remained buried,'' Ota said.

Source : http://www.asahi.com (10/30/2003)
 
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