Almost 100 injured in Japan ferry collision

Almost 100 injured in Japan ferry collision

Almost 100 injured in Japan ferry collision

More than 80 passengers have been injured, several seriously, after a ferry struck what appears to have been a whale in the Sea of Japan.

Thirteen people suffered serious injuries in the accident on Saturday, which occurred as the vessel was heading to Sado island, public broadcaster NHK quoted the Japan coastguard as saying.

The ferry was carrying 121 passengers and four crew members when it hit what was likely to be a whale, causing a six-inch (15cm) crack on the stern.

Shinichiro Ikeguchi, vice director of the municipal aquarium in Niigata Prefecture, said mink and humpback whales are migrating through the sea and the impact's scale suggests the boat hit a whale.

"People around me were moaning [because of pain]", one of the passengers told journalists.

Ferry operator Sado Steam Ship Co. said in a statement that the jetfoil ferry reached its destination despite the incident and apologized to the customers, saying the ship was hit by "marine life".

Kyodo said the cause of the accident was under investigation by coast guard officials.

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