Eyewitness accounts of quake and tsunami in Japan
Published Friday, March 11, 2011 12:11PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:09AM EDT
One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan's eastern coast on March 11, triggering a devastating tsunami. The quake was followed by more than 20 aftershocks that lasted for hours, most of them of more than magnitude 6.0.
Here are some witness accounts of what the quake felt like, and what's happening in its aftermath, including some that have come in to CTV.ca and other reported by international media outlets.
Email to CTV from "Alex":
"I'm in Tokyo and we got rocked pretty good. Threw everything in my apartment on the floor, tore down part of the wall of the building next door. Aftershocks continuing now. And this isn't even the worst of it, the northeast part of the country is a terrible disaster area. Many dead, many still missing. This is a very sad day for Japan."
Toronto photographer Andrew Pateras, who's in Tokyo, on his personal blog:
"I am writing to you at after midnight Tokyo time and the aftershocks are still hitting hard. The best way to describe it is to compare it to being in your cabin on a cruise ship during a storm. I am on dry land and I am actually feeling sea sick...
I have lived through many life changing events, but this one will be forever burned in my memory. Today I saw hundred story buildings sway like palm trees in the wind as the earth shook beneath my feet. Now, I think I have seen it all."
Toronto architect Shebbar Sagarwala, studying in Tokyo, to CTV's Canada AM, around 10 a.m. ET:
"We're still feeling the aftershocks every 10 to 15 minutes… I've got an app on my phone that's telling me they're about 5 on the Richter scale. We get a lot of earthquakes in Tokyo, but having a 5 or a 6 this frequently is really unnerving…
When I moved here from Toronto I was really frightened about earthquakes so I got this app that sends me text message whenever there's an earthquake… The ones we usually feel are small, between 3 and 4, so I've tried to take them in stride. But this is something completely different."
Email to CTV from "Barrie Jones":
"I'm in Osaka, Japan and I felt the earthquake today. A small mercy for me that I am okay and so are those close to me, but my deepest concerns go out to those in the north."
Journalist Chris Johnson, in an interview with CTV from Tokyo:
"It felt like the big one that everyone's been expecting here in Tokyo. But, in fact, it was more than 300 kilometres away."
Reuters correspondent Linda Sieg in Tokyo:
"The building shook for what seemed a long time and many people in the newsroom grabbed their helmets and some got undertheir desks… It was probably the worst I have felt since I came to Japan more than 20 years ago."
Nevada resident Jesse Johnson, who's in Chiba, north of Tokyo, to The Associated Press:
"At first it didn't feel unusual, but then it went on and on. So I got myself and my wife under the table…. I've lived in Japan for 10 years and I've never felt anything like this before. The aftershocks keep coming. It's gotten to the point where I don't know whether it's me shaking or an earthquake."
American translator Matt Alt, to the New York Times:
"This tremor was unlike any I've experienced previously, and I've lived here for eight years. It was a sustained rolling that made it impossible to stand, almost like vertigo."
Australian Grant Stillman in Tokyo, to the Syndey Morning Herald :
"From my building I watched skyscrapers sway like the masts of yachts.. My building started making cracking sounds under our feet and that's when we took to the staircase."
Australian James Pleasant, a student at Temple University in Tokyo, in an email to the SMH:
"Blinds were banging, the walls were falling apart and slamming into windows and the floor began moving noticeably under our feet… People began getting up and racing for the door. By the time we got out into the hallway it was enough that keeping your balance had become a struggle."
Ryosuke, in Tokyo, to BBC News Online:
"Although we're far from northern Japan, the quake here was very big… The first quake was very long - everyone in the office was screaming. Then we had another long one about 30 minutes after that. Paper and items were falling off the desks. We can hear the walls. We can hear the walls going back and forth."
U.S. army helicopter pilot David Pierson, who was at Tokyo's Narita Airport, to CNN:
"It felt like a jet had come too close to the window and everything started shaking and rocking, and there was a huge rumbling noise. All the signs started swaying and fixtures started popping out. When I saw the panic on people's faces, I made a move for the exit."
B.C. resident Danny Ferraro, who's in Hawaii at a Waikiki hotel, to CTV's Canada AM:
"The bottom four floors of our hotel have been evacuated. When I went down at 12 a.m. our time, they were pulling out all the computers… Every boat is out of the harbour. I can see them all in the Bay of Waikiki. There's maybe 100 and I guess they're all going to weather the storm out there."