SAPPORO – A woman has been rescued from a drifting sailboat in waters off Hokkaido, but the local coast guard said Monday it has not been possible to clearly understand her situation due to communication difficulties.
The small Israeli-flagged vessel was spotted drifting by a coast guard patrol plane in the Sea of Japan some 35 kilometers from Cape Benkei in the town of Suttsu, on Hokkaido’s western coast, at around 11:50 a.m. on Sunday.
The woman onboard, whose nationality is not yet known, was seen trying to attract attention by waving orange and white cloths, according to coast guard officials.
The woman, described as likely to be in her 40s, was taken aboard a Japanese patrol vessel. She is not injured and is in good health, they said.
Unable to speak Japanese or English, the woman used gestures and drawings to explain that the engine of the sailboat broke down and she was unable to hoist a sail.
She has written three pages in what officials believe to be Russian, but it is taking time for the officials to comprehend it, they said.
The woman was wearing a life jacket at the time she was rescued and appeared tanned. She ate bread and drank water and juice after she was taken aboard the patrol boat, according to the coast guard.