His name is Hiromitsu Shinkawa. He is 60 years old and for 2 days he was floating on the rooftop of his house 10 miles out to sea. He is believed to have been washed out when the tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma (Fukushima prefecture) retreated back out to sea, taking Shinkawa with it.

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

He was quoted as saying: "No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life."



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