HONOLULU – The Honolulu medical examining authority on Saturday identified the eighth body recovered from the sunken Japanese fisheries training ship Ehime Maru as Uwajima Fisheries High School student Yusuke Terata.
Terata, 17, was one of the nine Japanese who went missing in February off Hawaii when the ship was hit by the U.S. submarine Greeneville.
Terata’s father, Ryosuke, 45, was silent upon hearing the news. He has been serving as chief spokesman for relatives of the nine and was awaiting the results of the search with his wife, Masumi, 43, at a hotel in Honolulu. One of their friends asked the media to give them some time alone.
U.S. Navy divers recovered Terata’s body Thursday from inside the ship after the vessel was transported to shallow waters off Honolulu international airport on Oahu Island from the 600-meter-deep seabed to which it originally sank.
An official of the Office of the City and County of Honolulu Medical Examiner said the office used dental records to identify Terata. The cause of his death was drowning, the official said.
The identification of Terata leaves Takeshi Mizuguchi, 17, another Uwajima school student, the only one missing. Since the recovery operations began Oct. 15, the divers have found and recovered the remains of eight of the nine.
The divers conducted the 12th day of the recovery operations Saturday in search of the remains of Mizuguchi and personal accounts left in the ship.
The nine were among 35 people aboard the 499-ton Ehime Maru, which belongs to a fisheries training school in Ehime Prefecture. They went missing after the ship was hit by the 6,080-ton sub, which was conducting an emergency-surfacing drill for civilian guests on board.
The Navy will do its utmost to find Mizuguchi until it can be 100 percent sure there is no section of the ship left to search, Rear Adm. William Klemm, head of the salvage operation, said Saturday. Divers have searched 60-65 percent of the space inside the ship, Navy officials said.
“I’m really glad as I had thought it would be difficult to find (Terata’s ) body,” said Kei Kogane, teacher at the school.
Witnesses had seen Terata clinging to a mast at the time of accident, indicating there was little hope his body would be found inside the ship.
Takeshi Kurokawa, Terata’s grandfather, expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Navy, saying that, “They surely pulled up the ship as we had requested and I am very grateful for their efforts.”
“I wish they will somehow manage to find one last boy,” he said.