American passengers began evacuating a cruise ship quarantined off Japan early on Monday morning, boarding around a dozen buses at a port in Yokohama.
An AFP reporter saw buses in a convoy starting to move away from the Diamond Princess, though they did not immediately depart the port.
An American passenger, Sarah Arana, confirmed to AFP she had boarded a bus and was expecting to take one of two charter flights leaving to the United States.
Arana said passengers leaving the vessel went through a makeshift passport control process but underwent no health checks before boarding the buses, which will leave the dock in a caravan.
“We have to sit here until all the buses are loaded with all the passengers and then we will leave.”
Two planes have been chartered to carry passengers back to the United States, with some staying at a military base in California and others going on to Texas.
Arana said she had not been told whether she would be staying in California or going on to Texas.
All Americans who leave the ship will have to observe another 14-day quarantine in the United States.