Dozens injured after ferry collides with marine animal off Japanese island

Japan ferry 'hits whale', injuring 87 passengers

More than 80 people were injured, with five of them in a critical condition, after a jetfoil ferry incident in the Sea of Japan on Saturday, according to local authorities.

Five of the injuries were serious and a 15-centimeter (6-inch) crack was found at the ferry's stern.

Public broadcaster NHK reports that the vice director of a municipal aquarium in Niigata says that the scale of the impact to the stern suggests that the boat struck a whale.

"My throat hit the seat in front of me", one passenger told Japanese media, according to the outlet0.

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There was damage to the back of the vessel, local media said, but the ferry - with 121 passengers and four crew on board - reached its destination without outside help, local media said. "People around me were moaning [in pain]".

All the injured were taken to hospital.

Minke and humpback whales are reportedly migrating through the Sea of Japan at this time of year.

Kyodo said the cause of the accident was under investigation by coast guard officials.

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