The sinking of a tour boat off Hokkaido's Cape Shiretoko World Heritage Site on Saturday has highlighted the dangers involved with nature tours and undermined plans among local tour operators to offer cruises over the upcoming Golden Week holiday period.

As of Monday afternoon, at least 11 people believed to have been on the Kazu I sightseeing boat, including a 3-year-old girl, had been confirmed dead.

The captain, Noriyuki Toyoda, reported at around 1:15 p.m. that he was taking on water, and then communication was cut off and the boat went missing. Twenty-six passengers and crew, including two children, were on board the boat, which had a capacity of 65 and departed Utoro harbor in the port town of Shari around 10 a.m.