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60-Year-Old Japanese Man Found Alive, Floating on Roof, 10 Miles from Shore

March 13, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Asia/Pacific with 2 Comments

Sixty- year old Hiromitsu Shinkawa may very well be the luckiest man in Japan. He was found on the roof of his floating house today, 10 miles from the shore off Fukushima prefecture, two days after the largest recorded earthquake in Japanese history caused a massive tsunami that laid waste to much of the island country’s northeastern coast.

Shinkawa made the fateful decision to return home with his wife and try to gather up some personal belongings just before the killer wave struck. “I ran away after I heard a tsunami was coming,” he told Jiji Press. “But I turned back to fetch something from home and was swept away… No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life.”

But a naval destroyer spotted him clinging to his roof with one hand while waving a self-made red flag with the other two days after the disaster struck. Shinkawa was rescued and “burst into tears” after guzzling down a drink aboard the rescue craft. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital where he is said to be in good condition. Unfortunately, his wife is still missing.

Quite possibly the luckiest man in Japan. (Photo: AP)

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2 Comments

  1. Ryne SandbergMarch 18, 2011 at 12:55 amReply

    How can this guy be the luckiest guy in Japan when he lost his wife within the week to presumably drowning.

    • Brett WilkinsMarch 18, 2011 at 9:11 amReplyAuthor

      First instinct when I learned of a man found floating alive on his roof ten miles out to sea was that he is the luckiest man in Japan. But you’re right, losing his wife (who I presume he was with for many years) must have been one of the most devastating experiences of his life.

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