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AFP:Japan finds four from missing boat, condition unclear

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Japanese rescuers said Sunday they had found four people from a sightseeing boat that went missing a day earlier with 26 on board after warning it was sinking in frigid northern waters.

They were found shortly after 5 am (2000 GMT) off the Shiretoko Peninsula in northern Hokkaido prefecture, a coastguard spokesman told AFP, but no immediate information was available on their condition.

“They are being transported to seek medical attention,” the spokesman said. “Other details are not yet clear.”

The “Kazu 1” was sailing in the icy waters off the peninsula, a world heritage site recognised for its pristine nature, when it sent a distress signal at 1:13 pm (0413 GMT) on Saturday, saying its bow was flooded and that the vessel was sinking.

The coastguard sent seven vessels and five aircraft for the search and rescue mission Sunday, joined by police and military helicopters as well as other local fishing boats.

National broadcaster NHK showed footage of a helicopter landing in a field and at least one person being brought out on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.

Three of those found were in waters near the northern tip of the peninsula, while the fourth was in a rocky area on the coast, NHK said.

The boat was carrying 24 passengers, including two children, and two crew, and encountered high waves and strong winds on Saturday, according to officials.

Japan finds four from missing boat, condition unclear (msn.com)

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