More Than 80 Injured After Japanese Ferry Hits Marine Animal

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

The accident happened just after noon on Saturday 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.

A 15-centimetre crack was found at the ferry's stern. Image: AAP

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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.