The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published this photo of a soccer ball which washed ashore in Alaska, featuring writing traceable to a Japanese school in the impact zone of the 2011 tsunami. (David Baxter/NOAA)
(CBS/AP) ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Federal scientists said that a volleyball and soccer ball that washed ashore on an island may be the first pieces of debris to arrive in Alaska from the last year's tsunami in Japan.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Response and Restoration posted a notice online Thursday that the sports balls were spotted by a radar technician on Middleton Island.
Writing on the balls includes the name of a Japanese school in an area hit by the tsunami.
Doug Helton of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the balls are one of the first pieces of debris that can be traced back to Japan.
Middleton Island lies almost due south of Cordova in the Gulf of Alaska, 70 miles from the mainland.
Marine Debris blog (NOAA)