In one north eastern Honshu coastal town, a city employee manned the emergency loudspeaker system, right up to the very end.
In video from NHK you can hear the woman’s voice echoing through the city (it’s truly haunting when you realize what is going on) even as the tsunami sweeps over all the buildings, including the 3 story town hall. Miki Endo told residents to get to higher ground, over and over, with an intensity that caused some residents to think twice about going back home. One woman said if it wasn’t for Miki’s announcements she would not have realized the severity of the situation, and would have returned home instead of seeking higher ground.
Here’s a Spanish language news report that has the haunting NHK video. I had a link to the original NHK report but apparently it’s been removed from the internet.
The 3 story steel I-beam framed town hall is nothing but a skeleton now. The walls, floor and roof are gone. Workers in the building rushed to the roof when they realized the tsunami was taller than the top floor. The roof was still not tall enough, and most lost their lives, the survivors said they held on to exposed pylons for dear life. The whole time Miki Endo, still inside the town hall, stayed at her post telling the towns people to get to higher ground, telling them they must go higher.
To update the story, and since so many people continue to read it, it turns out that Miki was not the only one who stayed at her post. Miki’s boss stayed by her side, he also urged residents to get to higher ground, he was lost as well.
Miki has not been seen since, and her parents refuse to leave the devastated town, hoping to find her.