One dead, three missing after tour boat capsizes in central Japan

August 17th, 2011 - 11:59 pm ICT by BNO News  

TOKYO (BNO NEWS) — A boat carrying 23 passengers capsized on Wednesday in central Japan, leaving one tourist dead and three people missing, local media said.

The fire department in the city of Hamamatsu in western Shizuoka prefecture said the sightseeing boat capsized while going down the Tenryu River. The boat was carrying 23 people including the boatmen and a tour guide, according to NHK Television.

A woman in her 70s was pronounced dead, while a 2-year-old boy, an 82-year-old man and a boatman are missing. Six other people were hospitalized, including one elderly woman who was unconscious.

Tenryu-Hamanako Railway, the operator of the sightseeing tour, said the boat does not have a motor and is powered only by the boatmen. It added that the water flow is slow during most of the 50 minute tour, except at the stretch in which the boat capsized where the water swirls.

The operator said it advised only the children to put on the life jackets although jackets were provided for all the passengers in the boat, according to NHK Television.

The Transport Safety Board is currently investigating the cause of the accident.

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