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Japan: Rescuers Find 80-Year-Old Woman, 16-Year-Old Grandson in Rubble 9 Days after Quake 

Japan Today


March 20, 2011

An 80-year-old woman and her teenage grandson were rescued Sunday in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, after the youth was able to pull himself out of their flattened two-story house nine days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Jin Abe, 16, covered in towels, was seen calling out for help from the roof of the collapsed home in the hard-hit city of Ishinomaki, according to Miyagi Prefectural Police. Like other homes in northeastern Japan, they had lost electricity and telephone service in the March 11 earthquake.

He led them inside to his 80-year-old grandmother, Sumi Abe. Both were conscious but weak, and had survived on the food, such as yogurt, that they had in their refrigerator, said Shizuo Kawamura of the Ishinomaki police department.

The woman could not get out of the house because she has trouble walking, and the teenager, who was suffering from a hypothermia, had been unable until Sunday to pull himself from the wreckage, Kawamura said.

They were found by local police who realized they couldn’t get the woman out of the collapsed house and had to call other rescuers, he said.

National broadcaster NHK showed video of the stunned but coherent woman being placed on a stretcher. She was able to give her name and told rescuers she had been in the house since it collapsed in the quake. When asked if she was hurt, she said no.

NHK showed them being taken by helicopter to a hospital.

Kawamura said that while the rescue was a reason for joy, police had “too many other victims to find to take the time to celebrate.” 

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