Search for People Aboard Missing Tour Boat Continues


Shari, Hokkaido, April 27 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Coast Guard and others continued on Wednesday their search off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido, northern Japan, for people who remain unaccounted for after a tour boat carrying a total of 26 passengers and crew members lost contact at the weekend.

The First Regional Coast Guard Headquarters and others involved in the search are expanding the area of their activities, with a total of 12 ships and seven aircraft mobilized. But they have still been unable to find the 15 missing people.

The Kazu I tour boat went missing on Saturday after departing from Utoro Port in the town of Shari in the peninsula earlier that day. Eleven of the 26 people, including a 3-year-old girl, have been found and confirmed dead so far.

On Tuesday, divers searched areas around the site where the tour boat lost contact, after a sonar detected a large object on the seabed. But the boat was not found. It is now believed to have sunk.

Rough weather is expected to make the search operations difficult. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency's Sapporo Regional Headquarters in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, wind speeds are expected to reach around 15 meters per second in areas off the peninsula Wednesday afternoon, with wave heights forecast at 3-4 meters.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press