43-year-old Hideaki Akaiwa was at work when the March 11 tsunami hit his home town, Ishinomaki, Japan. He rushed back home to locate his mother and wife of 20 years to find out his neighborhood is already submerged in up to 10 feet of water. Unable to wait for relief workers to arrive, Akaiwa changed into his wet suit and jumped to the ranging current of water filled with debris and underwater hazards in search for his wife. On the following day, He found his wife trapped in their house.
“The water felt very cold, dark and scary,” he recalled. “I had to swim about 200 yards to her, which was quite difficult with all the floating wreckage.” Akaiwa said.
After four days, March 15, he found his mother on the second floor of a flooded house.
“She was very much panicking,” Akaiwa said. “There were rushing waters all around still and she was trapped in the upper part of her house.”
According to Star reports, even with his family safe, Akaiwa continued looking for other tsunami survivor. He carries half bottle of tea, water, flashlight, swiss army knife, a lighter and cigarettes on his red fanny bag.