Tsunami debris reaches halfway across Pacific

HONOLULU (AP) ? Lumber, boats and other debris ripped from Japanese coastal towns by tsunamis last year have spread across some 3,000 miles to areas halfway across the North Pacific, and could wash ashore on remote islands north of Hawaii any day now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates the first bits of tsunami debris will land at small atolls northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands this winter.

NOAA’s tsunami marine debris coordinator, Ruth Yender, told an online news conference Tuesday that agency workers looking for the debris are boarding Coast Guard flights that regularly patrol the archipelago.

NOAA is also asking scientists stationed at Midway and other atolls to look for it.

Yender says so far no debris confirmed to be from the tsunamis has landed on U.S. shores.