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Five people seriously injured after ferry collides with whale in Japan

A ferry collided with what apparently was a marine animal off a Japanese island overnight, injuring more than 80 people, local media reported.

The accident happened just after noon off Sado Island, Kyodo News agency reported, citing Japan's coast guard.

Five of the injuries were serious and a 15-centimetre crack was found at the ferry's stern. But ferry operator Sado Steam Ship Co. said the jetfoil ferry still reached its intended destination on the island, located off the west coast of Japan's main island of Honshu, according to Kyodo.

The ferry, which departed from Honshu's Niigata Port, was carrying 121 passengers and four crew members.

The cause of the accident was under investigation by coast guard officials, who said the ferry may have struck a whale or some other sea animal, Kyodo reported.

NHK, the country's public broadcaster, quoted a marine expert who said the scale of the impact suggested the ship had collided with a whale.

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    The ferry was carrying 121 passengers and four crew members when the incident occurred off Sado Island. Source: BBC