National

'55 ship tragedy survivors complete trip

Kyodo

Survivors of a 1955 collision between a ferry and a freighter traveled Tuesday to Kyoto Prefecture to complete the school trip they were on 49 years ago when the accident that killed 168 people, mostly kids, occurred.

The collision between the Uno-Takamatsu ferry Shiun Maru and cargo ship Uko Maru No. 3 occurred in the Seto Inland Sea in thick fog in the early morning of May 11, 1955.

Among the dead were 100 students from elementary and junior high schools in Hiroshima, Shimane, Ehime and Kochi prefectures on school trips to Kyoto.

On Tuesday, some 90 people, including 39 survivors of the accident, placed wreaths at Nankai Junior High School in Kochi Prefecture in remembrance of the dead and participated in the 50th memorial service at Saihoji Temple in Takamatsu.

Nankai Junior High, which sent 117 students aged about 14 and four teachers on the trip, lost 28 students in the accident.

The memorial trip to Kyoto was organized by one of the survivors, Seiken Mitsuuchi, 63, and nine others.

The survivors and next of kin plan to carry portraits of the dead children to Kyoto and visit the sites they were to visit 49 years ago.