More than 80 injured after Japan ferry hits ‘marine animal’

Japan ferry 'hits whale', injuring 87 passengers

Japan ferry 'hits whale', injuring 87 passengers

A ferry collided with what was believed to be a marine animal off a Japanese island on Saturday, injuring more than 80 people, local media reported.

Ferry operators said the vessel hit an object, leaving a crack in its stern.

Coast guard officials said there was about a 6-inch crack in the stern and the hydrofoil wing was bent.

It is likely the ferry hit a whale, as both humpbacks and minks are often found in the area, public broadcaster NHK quoted a marine wildlife expert as saying.

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"My throat hit the seat in front of me", one passenger told local media.

The ferry was carrying 121 passengers and four crew members. "People around me were moaning [in pain]".

It is though mink and humpback whales are now migrating through the Sea of Japan. The five passengers that were seriously injured are reported to be concious, and all injured passengers have been taken to the hospital.

Coast guard officials said the exact cause of the accident is now under investigation.

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