The tour boat ran into trouble yesterday when it left the northern island of Hokkaido. The captain of the ship reported around noon that the boat was listing and in danger of sinking. After that, there was no more radio contact and the hours-long search for the ship and people on board began.
They searched all night for the missing in the water, which was colder than five degrees. In the end, ten people were found. They were still taken to hospital, but none of them survived.
The ship probably got into trouble because of the high waves. Due to rough seas, many fishing boats returned to port early yesterday. The meteorological service had warned of the approach of an area of low pressure with increasing winds.
“He just went there”
An employee of another tour operator spoke to the captain of the missing ship shortly before departure, writes the Japanese NHK news channel† “We knew the conditions at sea were deteriorating, so I told the captain not to go,” the employee said. “He said yes, but he just went ahead and left port.”
On board were a total of 24 passengers, including two children, as well as the captain and a crew member. Some of them were wearing life jackets. The cruise took place in Shiretoko, a nature reserve designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The visit would take about three hours.
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