The body of a child has been discovered during search and rescue operations initiated after a tourist boat accident in northeastern Japan. The death toll in the accident has reached 11.

The search and rescue operations to find the remaining passengers on the boat named Kazu 1 are still underway. The boat, with 26 people on board, had gone missing off the northern island of Hokkaido on Sunday.

The girl was found unresponsive on Sunday around 14.5 km east of a lighthouse on Cape Shiretoko, as per Hokkaido prefecture's First Regional Coast Guard Headquarters. The fishing patrol boat spotted her at 8:55 pm, but it took them about two hours to pull her out of the water, reports The Independent.

Search continues as 10 people from missing Japanese boat confirmed dead

— Calgary Sun (@calgarysun) April 24, 2022

The boat was on a three-hour sightseeing trip around the Shiretoko Peninsula, famous for its wildlife. The region is also a designated UNESCO world heritage site, and every year tourists flock to the region in the hope of spotting whales, sea lions, as well as brown bears, and birds on its rocky coastline.

It had 26 people, including two children and two crew members, on board before it went missing off the northern island of Hokkaido on Saturday. The crew sent a distress call to the coast guard around 1:15 pm local time to inform them about water flooding into the vessel, but no contact could be established after 3 pm.

On Sunday, authorities found the bodies of 10 tourists about 15 km from Kashuni Falls, which is believed to be their location when the boat sent a distress call. While the death toll has risen to 11, the search for the remaining passengers continues.

Six coast guard patrol boats, eight aircraft, and local fishing boats were involved in the search operations on Monday. A coast guard vessel with sonar is also conducting an undersea search to find the missing boat and any passengers trapped inside.

Meanwhile, Japan's transport ministry has launched an investigation into Shiretoko Pleasure Cruise, the firm that operated Kazu 1. The same boat had been involved in two accidents last year, in May and June. It had collided with an object in May and ran aground in shallow waters in June.

ghost boats
Unidentified wooden boat found in the sea off Noto Peninsula, is seen in Wajima, Japan. REUTERS/Kyodo