Soccer ball, volleyball launched by Japan tsunami wash up in Alaska

April 20, 2012 

A soccer ball with Japanese writing, which came from a school in the tsunami zone, washed up on Middleton Island.

DAVID BAXTER / NOAA

A school soccer ball and a volleyball washed away by the Japanese tsunami more than a year ago have washed up on remote Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports.

An observant beachcomber on Middleton Island, in the Gulf of Alaska, found a soccer ball and volleyball with Japanese writing on them. A school name is stenciled on the soccer ball, and his wife was able to translate the writing to trace it to a school. We have confirmed that the school was in the tsunami zone, but because the school is set up on a hill, it wasn't seriously impacted. ...

NOAA is working with the U.S. State Department, the Japanese Embassy, and the Japanese consulate in Seattle to confirm the details of the school connection and to set up a process to return any future items. The soccer ball may be the first identifiable item that could be returned. Unfortunately, the volleyball doesn't have enough information on it for the Japanese consulate to continue investigating a possible owner, although the technician's wife is continuing the search on her own.

Read more at NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration blog.

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