Miraculous Rescue: Japanese Man Saved After Floating for Two Days

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Hiromitsu Shinkawa waves to rescuers before being rescued to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer on Sunday March 13, 2011.

Defense Ministry / AP

The tsunami swept away his home – and his wife – but it could not drown his hope as the 60-year-old man clung to his floating roof.

The scenes of death and destruction abound in the media, while the heroic rescues are hard to capture. But Hiromitsu Shinkawa is not remaining quiet about the heros that saved him. After more than two days spent clinging to the remains of his roof, swept away by the flood, stable ground – no matter how devastated – has never been so welcome.

(More on TIME.com: See the countries who’ve pledged help to Japan)

Shinkawa said he was carried away by the ensuing tsunami as he and his wife gathered belongings after the earthquake. For two days he stayed afloat, drifting among other debris that the waves stripped away. He was 10 miles (15 km) off Japan’s northeastern coast when help finally arrived.

“Several helicopters and ships passed by, but none of them noticed me,” he was quoted as saying. He waved a red flag throughout his journey at sea but failed to call enough attention to himself. Fortunately, this castaway was snagged just in time and brought to safety. As the window closes to find survivors in Japan, NewsFeed hopes for many more stories just like this one.

(More on TIME.com: See the grim situation in Japan’s northeast)