ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Pref. (Kyodo) A police sergeant who rescued an 80-year-old woman and her teenage grandson Sunday in Miyagi Prefecture expressed amazement Monday that anybody had managed to survive nine days in a crushed house after being hit by a megaquake and tsunami.

“I’m astonished that there were people who stayed alive,” Yoichi Seino of the Ishinomaki Police Station said. “I’m so happy (to hear that).”

Four police officers from the devastated coastal city were searching for victims Sunday afternoon when they heard a feeble voice and walked toward it, he said. They then found 16-year-old Jin Abe on the roof of a collapsed house, shivering in the cold.

Seino said that when they tried to help him, Jin said, “Save my grandma.”

After shifting the rubble around, the officers found Sumi Abe sitting in a narrow spot in the kitchen covered in a futon surrounded by toppled objects, including a refrigerator and a wardrobe.

Sumi, who looked exhausted, broke into tears when the police told her “Don’t you worry any more,” he said.

After rescuing the two, the sergeant asked Jin what he would like to become in the future. The boy cheerfully responded, “An artist,” he said.

Dr. Michio Kobayashi at the Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital told the press that the two were in “good health and eating breakfast well.”

Jin and his grandmother survived the winter cold by covering themselves in layers of clothing and blankets and taking sustenance from the scarce leftovers in their refrigerator, including yogurt and some Coke, the station said.

Their family and rescue workers went looking for them after receiving a call from the boy and being told of their predicament. But the rescuers were unable to find the house in all the wreckage created by the tsunami.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters he “takes his hat off” to the two for surviving in such harsh conditions.

“I believe this kind of miraculous event is inspiring news to all the victims who are going through difficult situations as evacuees,” Edano said after encouraging those involved in the relief operations.

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