Boat owner found dead aboard drifting vessel

A fishing boat has found a small boat, the Umade Maru, drifting with its engine off close to Okanami Island west of Nishizaki in Itoman City, the boat’s owner lying dead in the bow.

The 11th Regional Japanese Coast Guard responded to the distress call with a patrol boat, and found the owner, 81-year-old Seiichi Higa, face down.  He was immediately transported to a hospital by Tomigusuku City Fire Department ambulance shortly after being transported to shore, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Coast Guard says Higa had left his home at 3 p.m. October 21st, the day before, with an announcement he was going fishing.  Higa’s body had no injury marks, according to investigators at 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters. They say they think Higa died as a result of sudden illness, or of natural causes.