Tsunami Harley motors across the ocean

Last updated 07:29 03/05/2012
Reuters

A motorcycle with Japanese plates that washed up in British Columbia is believed to be the first bit of tsunami debris to land in Canada.

Tsunami Harley
PETER MARK/AP
WILD RIDE: The once-lost Harley pictured on a Canadian beach. The container it was in was washed away, leaving the bike half-buried.

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It must have been a wild ride. Japanese media say a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost in last year's tsunami has washed up on a Canadian island about 6400 kilometres away.

The rusted bike was found in a large white container where its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, had kept it. He was located through the license plate number, Fuji TV reported yesterday.

"This is unmistakably mine. It's miraculous," Yokoyama told Nippon TV when shown photos of the motorcycle.

Yokoyama lost three members of his family in the March 11, 2011, tsunami, and is now living in temporary housing in Miyagi prefecture.

The motorcycle is among the first items lost in the tsunami to reach the west coast of North America. In March, an Alaska man found a football and later a volleyball from Japan; their owners were located last week using names that had been inscribed on the balls.

Canadian Peter Mark, who found the bike and its container, told Fuji that he "couldn't believe that something like that would make it across the Pacific." The report said he found it April 18 on Graham Island, off the coast of British Columbia.

The motorcycle was caked with "a lot of corrosion, a lot of rust", said Mark.

When he saw the Japanese license plate, Mark wondered if it might have drifted from Japan after the tsunami, and contacted a local TV station.

The Fuji report said the motorcycle would be shipped back to Japan, and that the shop that sold it to Yokoyama would help with paperwork and storage.

Debris from the tsunami initially gathered in the ocean off Japan's northeastern coast and has since spread out across the Pacific. In February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said currents would carry much of the debris to the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Washington and Oregon between March 2013 and 2014, though they correctly predicted that some of it could arrive this year.

Last month, a US Coast Guard cutter fired on and sank a fishing boat in the Gulf of Alaska that had drifted from Japan after the disaster. Authorities had deemed the ship a hazard to shipping and to the coastline.

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- AP

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