Earlier in April, Japan was struck with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the Kyushu Region. The devastating disaster caused at least 49 deaths, 3,000 injuries and more than 44,000 people to be evacuated from their homes. A search and rescue (SAR) mission was launched and almost all of the reported missing persons were found either dead or alive.
Before the main earthquake took place, there was a 6.2 magnitude foreshock and then followed by another 1,500 aftershocks. After the devastation took place, the annual rainy season began and complicated SAR missions. One month after the mission was initiated; the Japanese authority officially decided to end all missions.
However, the SAR mission did not end for one family. Hikaru Yamato, 22, was a university student who went missing after the earthquake. He was believed to be the last person missing from the disaster. His family members believed that he has been buried in mud and rocks as he drove near the Aso Ohashi bridge which collapsed into the bottom of a valley.
Yamato’s parents did not give up on hope and continued searching for him on their own, even scouring the mountain of rubble with their bare hands. Their optimism finally paid off when they found a flattened yellow vehicle sandwiched between gigantic rocks 400 metres down the river from where the bridge collapsed.
Their discovery led to another SAR mission by the officials which started on Tuesday. Rescuers started to blow up rocks burying the car to clear up the way.
"I was praying for him to be here," his father, Takuya Yamato told NTV on yesterday. He added that it was very sad but at least it was good that his body has been recovered. His mother on the other hand said “I am glad that we can finally bring Hikaru home” and this is what they have been hoping for.
Every culture has its own way in dealing with the death of a loved one. In Japan, most of them find it hard to accept the passing of their loved ones unless the body is found and laid to rest. We are glad that the Yamato family will finally have closure on this unfortunate event that has fallen upon their family.