Japan quake: Survivor rescued from roof out at sea

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Hiromitsu Shinkawa waves to rescuers before being rescued to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer on Sunday
Image caption,
Hiromitsu Shinkawa says he had returned home to gather some possessions after the earthquake

A 60-year-old man has been rescued from the roof of his floating home far out at sea, two days after a tsunami devastated Japan's north-east coast.

Hiromitsu Shinkawa was found by a defence ministry destroyer 15km (10 miles) from shore, officials said.

Mr Shinkawa's house in Minami Soma city in Fukushima prefecture had been ripped from its foundations and swept away by the retreating tsunami.

He was spotted waving a piece of red cloth, while clinging to the wreckage.

Mr Shinkawa told his rescuers that the tsunami had hit as he and his wife returned home to gather some possessions after the earthquake, and that his wife was swept away.

She is still missing.

"Several helicopters and ships passed by, but none of them noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life," he was quoted as saying by a defence agency spokesman.

"I ran away after I heard a tsunami was coming. But I turned back to fetch something from home and was swept away. I was rescued while hanging on to the roof of my house," he said.

Mr Shinkawa was reported to be in "good condition" after being taken to hospital by helicopter.

Military officials said mild weather and relatively calm seas had helped him stay adrift for 48 hours, Kyodo news agency reported.

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