Tsunami victim, 60, rescued 15km out to sea

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A Japanese man who was swept 15km out to sea by the tsunami was plucked to safety yesterday after being spotted clinging to wreckage.

Sailors on a destroyer rescued Hiromitsu Shinkawa after finding him floating on a piece of his own roof off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture two days after the disaster.

The 60-year-old, from the city of Minamisoma, which has been all but obliterated, had been swept out to sea with his house.

Officials said he was in good condition when plucked to safety.

"I ran away after learning that the tsunami was coming," Mr Shinkawa told his rescuers, according to Jiji Press. "But I turned back to pick up something at home, when I was washed away."

The government has said at least 1000 people died in the disaster, and police estimate more than 215,000 are in emergency shelters.

But the police chief of badly hit Miyagi Prefecture, north of Fukushima, said the death toll was certain to exceed 10,000 in his district alone.

- Agencies

- NZ Herald

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