National

End of summer leaves 14 dead, three missing in water-related accidents across Japan

Kyodo

At least 14 people died and three others were reported missing nationwide from Sunday through Monday as water-related accidents took their toll on recreational swimmers in the last days of summer vacation.

Sunday was the last day before schools reopened, and many people, young and old, spent the day at beaches and rivers.

Accidents were reported in Akita, Ibaraki, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, Fukui, Osaka and Okinawa prefectures.

In the city of Fukui, Toshihide Ryuzoji, 60, died after going into the ocean to save his pet parakeet, which had fallen into the water.

In Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, two Peruvians, believed to be father and son, died after being swept out to sea while wading. They had come to the beach with five others in a two-family group.

In Kanagawa Prefecture, Takeshi Nagase, 77, died during a swimming competition at Zushi Beach.

In Osaka, two high school students, both 16, died in the ocean after swimming in a prohibited area. The police said one boy drowned after jumping off a jetty and the other when he jumped in to save him.

In Hokkaido, the bodies of three high school students were found off the coast of Otaru on Monday a day after they went missing, the police said.

The students were identified as Shuji Nagahama, 18, Teppei Sudo, 18, and Masaya Tsuruga, 17.

The three, all from neighboring Sapporo, went to the coast with seven other friends. The police said all three attended Hokkaido Sapporo Nanryo High School and disappeared while wading outside the designated swimming area at Zenibako Beach, a popular hangout.

Their bodies were found about 200 meters from shore, the police said.

Their school held an urgent assembly Monday morning at which Assistant Principal Kiyomi Katagiri briefed the students.

“The consequences are really regrettable,” Katagiri told reporters. “We want to reiterate to the students the importance of protecting their own safety.”

At a beach in Shibata, Niigata Prefecture, a man in his 50s vanished while trying to reach his wife and daughter, who were in distress. They were rescued later.

In Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, a man went missing while snorkeling.

Meanwhile, a 77-year-old alpinist died after collapsing while navigating the Northern Alps between Toyama and Nagano.