Thursday, October 18, 2001

Second body recovered
from Ehime Maru

A third body is found, but
darkness hinders Navy divers' efforts

Family still mourns

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The Navy found two more sets of remains yesterday of the nine missing crewmen, students and teachers on the Japanese fisheries training vessel Ehime Maru.

However, divers were able to recover only one of those two bodies, which was turned over to the Medical Examiner's Office for identification. The Navy said safety and darkness prevented the recovery of the third body found to date. The Navy hopes to recover it sometime today.

Yesterday, the medical examiner identified the body found Tuesday as belonging to Hirotaka Segawa, chief radio officer. The Navy will not say in what compartment of the ship his remains were recovered, but he was believed to have been near the pilothouse, trying to send out a distress signal on Feb. 9 after the collision of the nuclear submarine USS Greeneville nine miles south of Diamond Head.

"I want to bring the body of my father back home as soon as possible," Segawa's daughter, Takako Segawa, said in a nationally televised interview from her home in Miura, a port city near Tokyo. "I hope the bodies of the remaining eight missing could be recovered soon."

Identification was made through dental records. The medical examiner is believed to have the dental records of all of the nine missing people.

In Japan today, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi telephoned Adm. Thomas Fargo, Pacific Fleet commander, to thank him for U.S. efforts to salvage the Ehime Maru.

"I would like to express my appreciation for the fact that you have been doing all you can to salvage the Ehime Maru," Koizumi said, according to an aide. "I hope you will continue to work toward a resolution of the issue."

Still unaccounted for or identified are the remains of four 17-year-old teenagers, all students of Uwajima Fisheries High School -- Yusuke Terata, Takeshi Mizuguchi, Katsuya Nomoto and Toshiya Sakashima. Also missing are their teachers -- Hiroshi Makizawa and Jun Nakata -- and two other crewmen -- Hiroshi Nishida and Toshimichi Furuya.

The Navy says it does not plan to recover any personal effects of the Ehime Maru's 35 passengers or crewmen until it has completed an underwater search of the vessel.

Lt. Cmdr. Neil Sheehan, the Pacific Fleet's liaison with the Japanese government, said yesterday, "The focus now is on the missing, not retrieving personal effects." When the search has been completed, "we will recover all personal effects that are reasonable to recover."

The items will be placed in plastic bags, tagged and logged when divers bring them aboard the Crowley barge, Sheehan said.

Kyodo News Agency and the Associated Press
contributed to this report.

Family still
mourns loss of son

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Masumi Terata held her son's baseball cap to her chest and gently patted it while she sat in her room yesterday at the Ala Moana Hotel.

"The only way I could feel him is to take out his belongings and look for his scent," she said through an interpreter. "That's the only way I could hug my son."

Since the Ehime Maru was brought to shallow water, three bodies have been found inside the fishing trawler. One body has been identified as Hirotaka Segawa, the ship's chief radio officer. The other two sets of remains have not yet been identified.

The recovery effort has given Masumi and her husband, Ryosuke, hope that divers soon will find their son, Yusuke, one of nine men and boys who were killed when the Ehime Maru was struck and sunk by a U.S. nuclear submarine.

"I came here with the conviction that he's going to be found," Ryosuke Terata said.

The couple said they hope to bring his ashes back to Japan, but said it would only be a superficial formality.

"As far as my feelings, they're not going to end," Masumi said.

Before Yusuke left Japan for Hawaii, Masumi recalled her son asking her what she wanted from the isles. "What I really want is your return in good health," she answered.

Masumi said the image of her son's smile before he left the station in Japan is embedded in her memory.

"I feel like I can't say good-bye," she said. "I was expecting him to come back on March 24. Just one more time, I want to hug him, hold him."

Along with the baseball cap, Masumi carries a small photo album full of pictures of Yusuke.

Yusuke, 17, was a member of the science club and had an interest for animals, said Masumi. His hope was to one day be a veterinarian, she said, adding that her son would take leftovers from their refrigerator to feed stray dogs and cats.

"Not a minute passes by without thinking of my son," she said.

Said her husband: "Whether he is found or not, it's hard to endure. Indeed we would like to take him home."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin