Japan Finds “Ghost Ship,” More Bodies Thought To Be From North Korea

TOKYO (CBS News) — Three bodies of people believed to be from North Korea were recovered in northern Japan on Monday, two days after authorities found a dilapidated empty boat, coast guard officials said.

The coast guard said a Japanese fishing boat picked up a male body floating off the coast of Sakata in Yamagata prefecture and two more bodies washed up on a nearby beach an hour and half later. The bodies were decomposed, but one had a lapel pin thought to be North Korean.

Officials are investigating if the bodies were from the severely damaged boat that washed ashore Saturday.

Winds and water currents push dozens of boats onto Japan’s northern coasts annually. Rickety North Korean fishing boats are particularly vulnerable because they lack the sturdiness and equipment to return home.