Ten confirmed dead after tour boat with 26 people sank

Ten people were confirmed dead on Sunday after a tourist tour boat with a total of 26 passengers and crew aboard went missing on Saturday. The country’s coast guard confirmed seven men and three women are among the dead after the tour boat sank The Trumpet gathered.

The Kazu I sightseeing boat sent a distress signal on Saturday afternoon after it began taking on water off the remote northeastern tip of Japan’s Hokkaido region.

A search and rescue operation began immediately, but hopes soon began to fade for the 26 people on board, including two children and two crew, because of the cold temperatures in the region.

The boat had set out on Saturday morning on a sightseeing cruise of the sort that is popular in the Shiretoko Peninsula, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site for its pristine natural environment and diverse wildlife.

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The authorities are continuing to search for the remaining 16 people and the boat. The boat left port around 10 a.m on Saturday, and all were believed to be wearing life jackets.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the disaster. But NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster, said there had been warnings of high winds and waves of up to 10 feet in the area of Kashuni Falls, a well-known sightseeing spot on Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula, where the boat had been when the first distress call was sent. Reefs are just below the surface of the waters there.

Naomichi Suzuki, the governor of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, said police officers and members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces had been helping with the search, in waters colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shiretoko Pleasure Cruiser, the company that owns the Kazu 1, said the tour boat left the port at Utoro, in eastern Hokkaido, at 10 a.m. on Saturday. It had been scheduled to travel around the tip of the Shiretoko Peninsula and return to Utoro around 1 p.m. The tourist boat was piloted by a 54-year-old captain and a 27-yearold deck officer.

On Sunday, a group of people, apparently family members and acquaintances of the passengers, went to a town hall where an emergency headquarters was set up.

Fishing boats and tourist ships from the area joined the search in the morning, but some returned to port a few hours later because of strong wind.

The Kazu I was the first tourist boat to operate in the area this season, with wind and high surf advisories issued in the area on Saturday, a captain of another tourist boat operator said he advised the Kazu I crew not to leave port.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure , Transport and Tourism, the Kazu I collided with a floating object in May last year, injuring three passengers. The boat also ran aground in June in shallow water shortly after leaving port.

The ministry started an on-site inspection on the operator of the boat, while the Japan Transport Safety Board sent officials to a local coast guard office to investigate the incident.

The peninsula in the northeast of Hokkaido is known as a popular destination for spotting drift ice and was designated as a World Natural Heritage site in 2005. It is a habitat for many rare species of animals and plants.

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