A Japanese survivor’s account of outrunning the tsunami

(Excerpt from the New York Times,   March 16, 2011)

When he stepped back outside his shop, he heard those on the hill above him yelling: “Run!” A wave was barreling at him, about a half-mile away, in the bay, he said. He jumped in his car, and by the time he could turn the key and put it in gear, the wave was almost upon him. He said he sped out of town chased by the wave, rising in his rearview mirror.

“It was like one of the ridiculous scenes from an action movie, except it was real,” said Mr. Miyakawa, his hands quivering. “I was going 70” — kilometers per hour, or about 45 miles per hour — “and the wave was gaining on me. That’s how fast it was.”

When he returned the next morning, he found his home reduced to its foundations, and heard faint cries for help. He followed them to a nearby apartment building, where he found a woman shivering and wet in the March cold and took her to a shelter. “The wave killed many,” he said, “but it spared a few.”

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