A Malaysian came face-to-face with the tsunami that devastated northeast Japan last week — and lived to tell his tale.
Paul Tiong Lee Foong’s entire life must have flashed before his eyes as he thought he was a goner. The 24-year-old student from the Sarawak Maritime Academy and his three friends were walking towards their ship, Thailine 8, at a harbour in Sendai when they saw it…
“The tsunami was coming towards us! …we ran to the nearest building and took refuge on its roof top.
“We were stuck on the roof for more than six hours and it seemed like eternity. When it appeared safe, we found our way to the nearest police station where a police officer escorted us to an evacuation centre.
“I am lucky to be alive… and I thank God for this. The first person I called to say I was safe and sound was my mother in Sarawak,” said Tiong, who is doing his internship in Japan, to reporters on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here yesterday evening.
He said the Japanese extended he and his friends tremendous help to ensure there well-being, and they received food, drinks and whatever they might have needed.
Tiong said he would never forget his first experience with a tsunami of that magnitude.
“Nevertheless, I will sail the seas as I am a seaman and this is my career,”he added.