Unavoidable Disaster: Watch the Tsunami Wave Crash into the Fukushima Power Plant

  • Share
  • Read Later

When the March 11 quake triggered a wall of water rushing toward the reactor, one worker wisely grabbed his camera.

The wave, estimated to be 48 feet high, easily overwhelms the power plant – and its puny 16-foot seawall. The footage was shot by a TEPCO employee who fled the plant to higher ground.

(More on TIME.com: See photos inside the Fukushima exclusion zone)

The six-second clip, looped for sheer shock value, is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. A look at the destructive power of the wall of water sheds new light on the cause of plant’s troubles. The one-two punch devastated the reactors, which have been on the brink of meltdown for weeks. Power was knocked out to the facility, and workers have been endangering their lives to help keep the fuel rods cool by flooding the plant with seawater.

(More on TIME.com: Watch a four-minute video clearing up confusion about the nuclear crisis)