Japan boat capsizes in Hokkaido environs: 26 aboard

Japan boat capsizes in Hokkaido environs: 26 aboard

Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi

Modern Tokyo Times

A Japanese tourist boat capsized during a trip that took in the stunning scenes of the Shiretoko Peninsula – off Hokkaido. The boat had 26 people on board, including two children. Therefore, Japan launched an immediate search and rescue mission. 

The Japanese coastguard sent six patrol boats out to search for survivors and the possibility of finding dead bodies. It is known that seven people were found. However, the coastguard didn’t release information if they were alive – yet they were all found unconscious. 

It is feared – though not confirmed – that despite life jackets being available, the situation didn’t permit people to jump out and escape. After all, the boat faced strong waves and was in serious trouble. Therefore, it is likely that all windows and escape routes were firmly shut. 

This is yet to be confirmed but seems probable given the strong wind and powerful waves that hit this small tourist boat. 

Ominously, the same boat hit trouble last year shortly after leaving the port area. This time – given the closeness to the port area before running aground – all 23 individuals on the boat escaped uninjured because the boat managed to return despite running aground. 

Lee Jay Walker says, “The Shiretoko Peninsula is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Historically, the name derives from the indigenous name of “sir etok.” This Ainu name means “the end of the Earth.” Therefore, this area is the northernmost part of the Hokkaido region – where Japan ends and where the Russian Federation meets in the Far East of this country.” 

It is known that the boat “KAZU I” hit waves reaching three meters in height. A feeling of foreboding awaits the family and friends of the loved ones on board this tourist boat.

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