Scared students caught by quake
A GROUP of Japanese students ran out of Narita International Airport as the country’s largest ever recorded earthquake shook the terminal and doors around them while they were waiting to fly to North Queensland.
Student Seika Fukusawa, 17, said her trip to Townsville had been delayed a day as the quake rocked the Narita International Airport, leading to runway closures.
The death toll from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami could rise to 10,000 and authorities are battling to avoid a reactor meltdown after a second explosion at a Fukushima prefecture nuclear power station.
Ms Fukusawa, from Azumino city in Nagano prefecture, north-west of Tokyo, said it was scary to see the airports buildings and planes shaking and the fear of the waiting passengers.
‘‘ The ground was shaking and the doors were rattling,’’ she said. ‘‘ Everyone ran and fled.’’ Ms Fukusawa, who has experienced smaller earthquakes, said many people were crying in the airport.
Tokyo’s two major airports, Haneda and Narita, were closed after the quake and the students arrived in Townsville on Sunday, after travelling from Cairns.
The family and friends of all 18 students, from the Matsumoto Agatagaoka High School, are all safe.
‘‘ The earthquake was scary,’’ Ms Fukusawa said.
‘‘( But) the tsunamis are more worrying than the earthquakes,’’ she said.
A build-up of hydrogen around a reactor caused a second explosion at the Fukushima power station yesterday morning, injuring six people, but the station’s operators TEPCO said the reactor container was not breached and there was no major rise in radiation.
More than 200,000 people have been evacuated to outside a 20km radius of the plant, but 746 people, mainly patients, elderly people and their carers, stayed behind.
The Nagano students are in Townsville to study English and will be staying with host families for the next week. Ms Fukusawa said she was hoping to improve her English and was looking forward to doing some tourist activities around Townsville, especially going to the beach.