How a boat ride turned to tragedy in northern Japan

  • Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
  • BBC News, Tokyo

Rescue unit members carry out a search and rescue operation for those aboard the missing tour boat "Kazu 1" in a rocky coastal area of ​​the Shiretoko Peninsula in Shari, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, April 24, 2022 in this flyer image taken and released by 1st Coast Guard Regional Headquarters

Credit, Reuters/Japan Coast Guard

photo caption,

A series of errors appears to have led to the sinking of a boat carrying tourists off northern Japan.

It’s an old cliché, but accurate: disasters aren’t caused by a single mistake. Several things have to go wrong at the same time for a tragedy to happen.

This appears to be exactly what happened on Saturday afternoon (23/04) off the coast of Hokkaido in northern Japan.

The Shiretoko Peninsula is a spectacular place. Located in the northern Pacific, it is covered by densely forested mountains with waterfalls that tumble from high cliffs straight into the ocean.

The northern half of the peninsula is a national park and a world heritage site. It is also home to Japan’s largest population of ussuri grizzly bears, close relatives of the North American grizzly bear (also called the grizzly bear or grizzly bear).

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