Fire breaks out on ferry off northern Japan - reports

2015-07-31 16:11

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Tokyo - Rescue boats were rushing to a ferry with nearly 100 passengers and crew off the coast of northern Japan on Friday after a fire broke out on the vessel, local media said.

A distress call was made at 17:32 pm local time as the ferry with 94 people aboard sailed about 50km off the coast of the northernmost island Hokkaido, public broadcaster NHK said.

It was not immediately clear how the fire broke out or the extent of the damage.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, media said.

The Japanese coastguard has dispatched four patrol boats to the scene while another ferry sailing nearby was joining in the operation, NHK said.

The ferry had left from a port northeast of Tokyo earlier Friday bound for the city of Tomakomai, a trip of several hundred kilometres.

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