Dozens injured after ferry hits whale in Sea of Japan

Dozens injured after ferry hits whale in Sea of Japan

Over 80 people were injured - some seriously - after a ferry collided off a Japanese island with what appears to have been a whale.

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

Public broadcaster NHK quoted a marine expert who said the scale of the impact suggests the ship hita whale.

"People around me were moaning [because of pain]", one of the passengers told journalists. Ferry operator Sado Steam Ship Co said the jetfoil ferry still reached its intended destination on the island, located off the west coast of Japan's main island of Honshu.

When the ferry docked at 1.30pm local time on Saturday, the injured were taken to hospital.

The boat is powered by jets of seawater and can travel at up to 80km/h (49mph). This time of year is typical for minke and humpback whales to make their migration through the Sea of Japan.

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

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