Alaskans Find Prized Soccer Ball Lost in Tsunami

Teen who lost home amazed ball made it across ocean

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2012 3:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 16-year-old Japanese boy is getting one of his most prized possessions back more than a year after the tsunami destroyed his home and much of his hometown. Misaki Murakami's soccer ball, inscribed with his name and messages of support from his classmates, washed up on an Alaskan island where it was found by a beachcomber whose Japanese wife translated the writing, the AP reports. The couple tracked the boy down and are sending the ball back to Japan.

"It was a big surprise. I've never imagined that my ball has reached Alaska," Murakami, whose hometown Rikuzentakata was one of the worst-hit by the disaster, told reporters. "I've lost everything in the tsunami. So I'm delighted. I really want to say thank you for finding the ball." Officials say the ball is one of the first pieces of tsunami debris to wash up on North American shores, but there will be much more arriving over the next couple of years. A "ghost ship" which drifted across the Pacific after the disaster was sunk off the coast of Alaska earlier this month.

David and Yumi Baxter hold a soccer ball and a volleyball which floated across the Pacific to Alaska after the Japanese tsunami.   (AP Photo/The Baxters via Kyodo News)
Misaki Murakami stands where his home once stood while talking to David Baxter, the Alaskan man who found his soccer ball.   (AP Photos/Sankei Shimbun, Yoko Watanabe)
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