• Kyodo

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Nineteen people were injured Friday when a high-speed passenger ship headed for Fukuoka hit an unidentified object about 16 km off the coast of Busan, South Korea, and flooded, authorities said.

A South Korean crew member and 18 passengers, including at least nine Japanese, were injured. A 64-year-old man from Fukuoka suffered a broken bone, the Japanese Consulate in Busan said.

About 170 passengers were on board, including 96 Japanese, according to Miraejet Co., the South Korean operator of the vessel, which originated in Busan.

Miraejet said the ship might have hit a whale, but was investigating further.

The passengers transferred to another ship and headed back to Busan, according to the authorities.

The ship travels between Busan and Fukuoka in three hours at a cruising speed of about 80 kph.

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