• Kyodo


The Japan Coast Guard on Thursday found two bodies inside a sunken fishing boat that capsized the previous day off Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, in the Sea of Japan.

One of the bodies was identified as Yasushi Yoshida, 59, the chief engineer of the vessel Daifuku Maru. While trying to identify the other body, the coast guard continued searching for the six other crew members who remain unaccounted for.

The body of 54-year-old Yoshihiro Sakamoto was found soon after the capsizing on Wednesday. There were nine crew on board, of which eight were Japanese and one was Indonesian.

Earlier in the day, the coast guard found the 76-ton Daifuku Maru at a depth of around 45 meters, about 500 meters west of where it capsized.

The boat, lying on its side on the seafloor, was identified as the missing boat through its registration number, coast guard officials said. Sonar had detected a boat-like object in the area, prompting the coast guard to send rescue divers into the water.

An underwater camera also recorded fishing equipment on the seabed nearby, and what appeared to be an oil slick was spotted on the surface of the water.

The Daifuku Maru, which belongs to a fisheries cooperative in the town of Iwami in Tottori Prefecture, capsized Wednesday morning off Matsue in neighboring Shimane Prefecture while being towed by another fishing boat after developing engine trouble.

The roughly 30-year-old Daifuku Maru set sail Dec. 8 to fish for crab and was returning to port, the cooperative said earlier. The accident occurred during heavy rain. A weather warning had been issued for strong winds and high waves in the area.

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