Posted: Mar 13, 2011 9:41 AM by Chris Welty
Updated: Mar 13, 2011 9:42 AM
TOKYO (AP) - Hiromitsu Shinkawa was pushed out to sea while he
clung to the roof of his home after a tsunami swept away his wife.
For two days, he drifted off Japan's northeastern coast, trying to
get the attention of helicopters and ships that passed by - to no
Finally, on Sunday, a Japanese military vessel spotted the
60-year-old waving a red cloth. He was about 15 kilometers (about
10 miles) offshore from the earthquake-ravaged city of Minamisoma,
said Yoshiyuki Kotake, a Defense Ministry spokesman.
Shinkawa told his rescuers that the tsunami hit as he and his
wife returned home to gather some belongings after Friday's quake.
His wife was swept away, Kotake said.
"Several helicopters and ships passed by, but none of them
noticed me," he was quoted by another defense agency spokesman,
who refused to be identified by name, as saying.
Japanese troops used a small boat to pluck him from the ocean.
Military officials said Shinkawa was lucky that mild weather and
relatively calm seas enabled him to stay afloat for nearly two
days, the Kyodo news agency reported.
"I thought today was the last day of my life," it quoted him