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Morning Mail: Goal! Soccer ball washes up in Alaska, 13 months after Japanese tsunami

Apr 23, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

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A soccer ball, pictured in this NOAA handout photo, washed away during the Japan tsunami has been found on Middleton Island, in the Gulf of Alaska Reuters

A soccer ball and a volleyball apparently were inseparable during a 13-month voyage across the Pacific Ocean, becoming among the first bits of debris to reach the U.S. following the tsunami of March, 2011. David Baxter, a technician working at a radar station on remote Middleton Island, in the Gulf of Alaska, found the soccer ball and the volleyball while beachcombing. Fun fact: Baxter’s wife is Japanese.

Misaki Murakami, 16, has been identified as the owner of the soccer ball. Globe and Mail:

Kyodo News agency says Mr. Murakami, from the devastated town of Rikuzentakata, is surprised and thankful the ball has been found some 8,200 kilometres away.

“I have no doubt it is mine,” Mr. Murakami told Kyodo. He was particularly glad because all furniture and sentimental items in his home had been washed away in the March 11, 2011, tsunami, which devastated a long stretch of Japan’s northeastern coast and killed about 19,000 people.

The ball, which also had messages of encouragement on it, had been given to him in 2005, when Mr. Murakami was in third grade, as a good-bye gift when he transferred to another school.

It’s my theory that the balls were played with during their journey across the ocean by dolphins and porpoises, and an occasional seal; which is why it took them so long to arrive.

source: AP

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