The KAZU 1 cruise ship, which was in the Sea of Okhotsk off the coast of the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan, sent a flood signal, and then communication with it was lost.
There were 26 people on board, including, according to the Office of Maritime Safety, two children, the captain and his assistant.
Rescuers found in the area of the disappearance of the vessel, first four, later three more people. All of them are unconscious, NHK TV channel reports. The search, which involves helicopters, patrol boats and members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, continues. Earlier it became known that three passengers of the ship were found in the water from the board of a police plane near the Shiretoko Peninsula, another person ended up in a rocky area on the coast.
According to the Hokkaido newspaper, local fishermen suggest that there was an accident: due to high waves, the ship’s hull hit a rock.
The ship “KAZU 1”, says the publication “News”, left on Saturday morning from the port of Utoro, on the northern island of Hokkaido, heading to the area of the village of Shari, famous for its picturesque waterfalls. At about 13.15 a distress call was received. Two helicopters and patrol boats were sent to the place of the alleged location of the vessel, writes RIA News.
Due to the incident, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida cut short his trip to Kumamoto Prefecture and returned to Tokyo to coordinate. The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, Yuichiro Hato, went to the scene.
An official representative of the Japan Metrological Service warned that the water temperature in the search area is no more than five degrees. The search operation continues.