Only some survive on top of the town disaster management center Pictures: Shinichi Sato/AP
"Chilling new photographs show people desperately clinging to a mast on a roof as the Japanese tsunami destroys the building beneath them.
In the combination of three photos, taken by Shinichi Sato amidst the March 11 disaster, survivors cling to an antenna tower and handrails on the roof of the Minamisanriku Government Disaster Readiness Center in Minamisanriku, north-eastern Japan.
About 30 people fled to the roof of the three-storey building and climbed higher as the tsunami rushed in. Only nine people survived and about 20 were swept to their deaths."
A young female official who kept delivering the evacuation message to townspeople until the last moment has not been found. Tanioka says the story of her bravery and dedication is now nationally known.
Lensman braved tsunamiWednesday, April 6, 2011 http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110406f3.html
"MINAMISANRIKU, Miyagi Pref. (Kyodo) When the municipal disaster prevention building in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, was engulfed by the tsunami on March 11, its officials clinging to the top of the structure, a local photographer captured the drama in a series of pictures.
The photos, made available by Shinichi Sato, show the three-story building completely submerged by the wall of water except for its antenna and rooftop fence, to which Mayor Jin Sato and nine other survivors from the office clung.
(Shinichi) Sato, 45, who ran a photo studio in his home until the tsunami hit, captured the scene from an elementary school overlooking the town.
'A tsunami will come,' he thought soon after the powerful earthquake struck. He first instructed his family to evacuate, then took his camera and drove to a hilly area where he could see the town below.
As Sato continued pressing the camera shutter, he was oddly calm and didn't feel terrified, he said. Sato is now photographing the recovery effort."