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More tsunami debris lands on US shores

SEATTLE - Kayakers surveying Washington state’s most remote beaches for debris from last year’s Japanese tsunami say they believe they have found part of a house, along with parts of a washing machine, laundry hamper, and child’s toilet bowl.

Three kayakers with the Ikkatsu Project wrote in a report this week that they found the remnants on June 12 as they examined a beach near the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, west of Seattle.

They also found a lumber pile mixed in with driftwood and seaweed. The lumber’s dimensions were metric, and some of it was stamped with a serial number they traced to a mill in Osaka.


Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who is on the expedition’s advisory board, said it is too soon to say whether the debris was from a Japanese home. “It’s like an archeological dig,’’ he said Tuesday. “It’s a bunch of things that could be construed as a house.’’

If so, it might be the first case of a Japanese house floating 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

A 66-foot dock ripped loose by the big waves landed on an Oregon beach this month, and Washington officials believe a 20-foot boat that washed ashore in Pacific County came from Japan.

The arrival of debris from the tsunami has worried officials on the West Coast. They say it could carry invasive species, a serious threat to the fishing industry.