10 dead and 16 unaccounted for after Japan tourboat sinks

24 passengers and two crew members were on board (Image: AP / Reuters / Regional Coast Guard)

At least 10 of the 26 people on board a tour boat that sank in Japan have died, the country’s coastguard has confirmed.

Seven men and three women are among the dead after the ship sank in the frozen water of a northern national park, which has seen previous accidents.

The search for those who are unaccounted for is still going on a day after the boat sent an emergency call saying it was sinking.

There were two crew members and 24 passengers, including two children, on the tour boat when it ran into trouble Saturday afternoon at the Shiretoko Peninsula point.

Earlier, authorities had said rescue helicopters found nine people – but did not confirm whether any of them were alive.

NHK public television said they were unconscious.

Footage on the canal showed one of the rescuers arriving on a helicopter and being transferred to an ambulance on a stretcher while rescuers held blue plastic shields for privacy.

A helicopter searches for missing people aboard the missing tour boat ‘Kazu 1’ (Photo: Reuters)
Firefighters move a rescued person – but it is unclear if they survived (Photo: AP)
Fishing boats search Shiretoko Peninsula (Photo: AP)

It came after rescuers intensified their search earlier on Sunday and found four people near the tip of Shiretoko Peninsula and five more people in the same area a few hours later.

The Coast Guard said they were all found in the area near the tip of the peninsula north where the boat sent an emergency call on Saturday.

The location is known as a difficult place to maneuver boats due to the rocky coastline and the same tour boat had an accident there last year.

On the rocky shore was also seen an orange-colored, square-shaped life raft with the name of the boat.

The sea was rough in the area where the incident took place (Photo: AFP)
Coast Guard personnel conducting a search and rescue operation (Photo: AFP)

Sunday’s rescue came after nearly 19 hours of intensive search with six patrol boats, several planes and divers. The Coast Guard said the search continued through the night.

The 19-ton Kazu 1 made an emergency call, saying that the ship’s bow had been flooded and that it had begun to sink and tilt while traveling off the west coast of the northern island of Hokkaido.

A crew of a tour boat belonging to another operator told NHK that he was warning of rough seas when he saw the crew of Kazu 1 and told them not to go.

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10 dead and 16 unaccounted for after Japan tourboat sinks

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