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AKIPRESS.COM - More than 80 passengers have been injured, several seriously, after a ferry hit what appears to have been a whale in the Sea of Japan, BBCreported.
The high-speed hydrofoil ship was en route to Sado Island from the port of Niigata on Saturday.
Ferry operators said the vessel hit an object, leaving a 15cm (6in) crack in its stern.
Public broadcaster NHK quoted a marine expert who said the scale of the impact suggests the ship struck a whale.
In a statement, the ferry operator apologised to its customers and said the ship looked to have collided with "marine life".
"My throat hit the seat in front of me," one passenger told local media. "People around me were moaning [in pain]."