More than 80 injured, five seriously, after ferry 'hits whale' in Japan

It is thought the ferry could have hit either a humpback or mink whale. Credit: AP

More than 80 people have been injured, five seriously, in Japan after a ferry hit what appears to have been a whale.

The ferry was carrying 121 passengers and four crew members when it hit what was likely to be a whale, causing a six-inch (15cm) crack on the stern.

Despite the damage, the jetfoil still completed its journey from Niigata Port to Sado Island, arriving around an hour behind schedule.

Jetfoils are powered by jets of seawater and can travel at up to 50mph (80km/h).

One of the hydrofoil wings on the ship was also said to have been damaged in the collision.

When the ferry docked at 1.30pm local time on Saturday, the injured were taken to hospital.

It is though mink and humpback whales are currently migrating through the Sea of Japan.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by coast guard officials who believe it is likely the ferry hit either a whale or another sea animal, according to local media.