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Ferry accident near Busan injures 28 people.

FUKUOKA, April 13 Kyodo

A high-speed ferry carrying about 200 people from the southwestern Japan port of Hakata to the South Korean port of Busan collided with an unidentified floating object Thursday afternoon, injuring 28 people, the South Korean maritime police and ferry operator said.

In the accident, in which the ferry's frontal wing came off, nine of the 215 passengers plus eight crew members sustained bone fractures while 19 others sustained scratches and other minor injuries, the police and the operator Miraejet Co. said.

The passengers and crew were all Korean and the ferry, named Kobee, hit the object around 25 kilometers southeast of Busan at around 6:20 p.m., they said.

South Korean navy ships were dispatched to the area whisking passengers to Busan and tugging the ferry to the port, the Yonhap News Agency said.

There have been a number of similar accidents in Tsushima Strait and nearby waters where high-speed ferries collide with marine creatures believed to be whales. The police also said it is possible that Kobee collided with a whale.

The Japan Coast Guard sent two ships to the area for investigation.

The ferry left Hakata at 3:45 p.m. and was about to reach Busan at 6:40 p.m.

High-speed ferries run by Miraejet and Kyushu Railway Co. make about four to five round trips a day, connecting the two in 2 hours and 55 minutes. The service transported 570,000 passengers in fiscal 2006.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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