Lensman braved tsunami

MINAMISANRIKU, Miyagi Pref. (Kyodo) When the municipal disaster prevention building in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, was engulfed by the tsunami on March 11, its officials clinging to the top of the structure, a local photographer captured the drama in a series of pictures.

The photos, made available by Shinichi Sato, show the three-story building completely submerged by the wall of water except for its antenna and rooftop fence, to which Mayor Jin Sato and nine other survivors from the office clung.

Sato, 45, who ran a photo studio in his home until the tsunami hit, captured the scene from an elementary school overlooking the town.

“A tsunami will come,” he thought soon after the powerful earthquake struck. He first instructed his family to evacuate, then took his camera and drove to a hilly area where he could see the town below.

As Sato continued pressing the camera shutter, he was oddly calm and didn’t feel terrified, he said. Sato is now photographing the recovery effort.