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Elderly fisherman rescued after adrift for two weeks

Date Posted: 2003-06-14

A 77-year-old fisherman was rescued by another fishing boat near Aguni Island after being adrift for 15 days. A Maritime Safety Agency official said Yoshimoto Ikari had set out to the sea for fishing alone on his small boat Misawa Maru from Uken Village on Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on May 21. As he had planned to spend only a day on the sea, he had only 10 liters of water and no food.

When he failed to return, MSA was alerted but the rescuers failed to locate him and the effort was terminated as tropical storm Linfa hit the area. A fishing boat from Naha spotted Ikari's boat drifting off Aguni Island last Thursday and rescued him. He was taken first to Aguni and then was airlifted to a hospital in Okinawa for treatment.

Ikari's boat had drifted some 300 kilometers from where he started. Doctors treating him said that he was conscious, but was seriously dehydrated and weak. He is also suffering from severe sunburns on his face. He is expected to stay in hospital for five to seven days.

Doctors said that although Ikari was not able to walk on his own, he was able to answer questions about his name, address and other details. He was also able to call his son from the hospital.

During his ordeal Ikari went through tropical storm Linfa and was unable to sleep for several days because of high waves.

A MSA patrol boat towed Ikari's boat to the port in Naha. MSA officials said that the boat showed no signs of collision, but was out of fuel and its battery was dead.

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