Missing fisherman turns up in mountain community

October 10, 2011

MINAMI-ISE, Mie Prefecture -- A fisherman who was given up by his family for dead has been rescued a week after going missing at sea.

Tasuku Kondo's ordeal, it turned out, was mostly on land. Kondo, 68, was found around 6 a.m. on Oct. 9 by a local resident in the Asoura neighborhood of Minami-Ise.

According to officials of the Toba Coast Guard Office, Kondo took his 2.9-ton fishing boat out to sea around 9 a.m. on Oct. 2 to check on its condition. Kondo had been at sea for some two and a half hours when he slipped and fell overboard.

Kondo grabbed on to a piece of driftwood and was washed ashore at Asoura that night.

He found himself in a remote wilderness area surrounded by mountains with no homes in sight. He drank rain and well water and slept outdoors. It took him seven days to cross the mountain.

Kondo was walking in the Asoura neighborhood when he came across a local resident who took him to his home in the Gokashoura neighborhood.

Coast Guard officials said Kondo was alert when he was found, but was physically weak. He was hospitalized for observation.

Kondo's family members had planned to offer flowers at the coast that morning in an attempt to put the accident behind them, and were stunned to learn he was actually alive.

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