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Fisherman Dies In Whale Rescue Attempt

A Japanese fisherman trying to help rescue a wayward whale was knocked off his boat and died, officials said.

The body of Noriyuki Yamamoto, 58, was recovered by divers, and he was pronounced dead at a hospital in Uwajima, said Satoshi Nishikawa, an Ehime state government official.

Fishermen and officials were trying to coax the 50-foot-long sperm whale out of Uwajima Bay on Tuesday afternoon and into the open sea when the mammal suddenly went wild, Nishikawa said.

The whale hit the 2-ton boat carrying Yamamoto and two other fishermen, who were also tossed into the sea but were rescued.

Nishikawa said provincial officials will decide whether to resume rescue efforts Wednesday morning in Uwajima, 420 miles southwest of Tokyo.

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