3 more bodies recovered from sunken Japanese sightseeing boat

3 more bodies recovered from sunken Japanese sightseeing boat

The sunken sightseeing boat Kazu I was found off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido on April 29 after three more bodies were recovered and another was found by a Russian patrol vessel, sources said.

14 bodies have been retrieved since the pleasure boat sank on April 23 after departing from Shari, Hokkaido. The search and rescue mission is continuing for the 12 others who were onboard the boat.

The Japan Coast Guard said the tour boat, detected by sonar used on a vessel involved in the search, was about 120 meters deep and resting on the seabed. An underwater camera operated by the Maritime Self-Defense Force confirmed that KAZU I was written on the vessel.

The location was close to the scenic Kashuni Falls on the western side of the peninsula near the spot where the Kazu I had made a distress call.

Three bodies found on April 28, all adult males, were retrieved from the sea on the other side of the Shiretoko Peninsula near the town of Rausu, said the Coast Guard Regional Maritime Safety Headquarters in Otaru, Hokkaido.

An MSDF vessel picked up two bodies off the eastern coast of the peninsula after 4 p.m. on April 28 about 23.9 kilometers southeast of Cape Shiretoko, the coast guard said.

A Hokkaido government vessel found the third body in the water about an hour and 20 minutes later.

It was the first time in four days for a missing person from Kazu I to be found.

A local resident said currents flowing from the western side of the peninsula to the southeast side collide with currents from the eastern side toward the north.

A helicopter believed to be carrying the three bodies arrived at an athletic track field in Shari in the evening.

The coast guard said on April 29 that the Russian border security authority sent a fax to the coast guard headquarters in Otaru on the evening of April 28.

A Russian patrol vessel found a person adrift but could not pull out of the body because of rough weather and then lost sight of the person. The location of the person, who was wearing a life jacket, was off the west coast of Russia-held Kunashiri Island, which is east of the Shiretoko Peninsula, according to the coast guard.

The Russians were able to retrieve a backpack from the sea. The coast guard said the passenger's body had been recovered and identified from the bag, which contained a bank card of a Kazu I passenger.