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A miracle amongst the mayhem

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  • A miracle amongst the mayhem

    For a change, there is some good news to come out of the all the loss.

    A mother and her 3 year-old daughter (Mayu) and 2 year-old son (Yuta) were trapped in their car when a cliff following route 117 collapsed taking them and the road that they were driving on at the time almost all the way down to the Shinano river.

    After 92 hours exposed to the elements, and trapped below ground without food, water, or heat, rescuers pulled young Yuta Minugawa out of the wreckage and airlifted him to a hospital in Nagaoka to receive the attention that he so desparately needed.

    Unfortunately, his mother and sister were not as fortunate as Yuta, and believed to have died instantly at the time the car was buried. Their bodies have now been recovered, and the rescue effort brought to a close.

    As I sat down today to make a jack-o-lantern with my daugther for the upcoming Halloween holiday, the reality that tomorrow is never guaranteed to any of us, and that any moment could be your last really set in on me. Life, family, happiness and health can be torn away from you at any moment for absolutely any reason whatsoever. Please try to live your life and deal with those you love as if your bonds exist only until the next fleeting moment comes, and hopefully goes.

    Little Yuta is doing well in hospital and has made it through the dangerous period of prolonged dehydration, and has told hospital staff that he "wants to eat watermelon" and "is sick of drinking water" and "wants some milk" and "that he loves the cartoon AnPanMan". It really wrenched my heart to hear that he mistook a nurse for his mother in his disoriented state when first brought in the hospital for emergency care.

    Much has happened in the area that we love and know, and this story while still tragic, is one ray of hope and a testament to the human spirit...both in the courageous actions of the rescuers, and also demonstrated by little Yuta's will to defy all odds and survive even under conditions that most healthy adults would likely perish.

    Probably the whole nation has spent the past two days glued to the television hoping and praying for all three trapped members of the Minugawa family to emerge from the wreckage alive, but there is only one that will rest his eyes tonight in the loving presence of his understandably distraught father.

    My heart and prayers go out to little Yuta and I salute his determination to survive against all odds in spite of the loss of his mother and sister. It is my sincerest hope and wish that he and his father will be able to regain some semblance of a normal life and find happiness again some day after the mourning passes.

    God bless you brave little will be in the prayers of many, many people tonight.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum
  • #2


    I kept track of this story as best I could via the various Japanese websites written in English.

    This story even managed to make the English press today unlike much else about the disaster over the last few days.

    I understand that the mother too was close to being saved as when they found the vehicle she still had a pulse. Nature, however, dealt another cruel blow and the fear of a further quake and landslide caused the rescue to be called off for some hours, hours which were just a little bit too long.

    Mark Gardner


    • #3


      Pulse was very low and she would have likely had severe brain damage even if rescued. A doctor interviewed on television today said that she more than likely lost consciousness at the time of the incident.

      I hope I don't sound crass, and doubly hate to quote a movie line in relation to a tragedy like this, but "sometimes dead is better".
      Brian Sousa
      Koi-Bito Forum


      • #4


        We watched the rescue unfold on FCI Express News last evening, it was amazing that they found the vehicle at all… there only seemed to be a little of the hood showing under all the boulders…

        The rescue party should receive a medal for the work that they performed without regard to their own safety… One has to have seen the scene, to understand the courage it took to work their way across a boulder and rock-strewn mountainside which seemed to be at a 60 degree angle… The littlest after shock could have dislodged the boulders at anytime, yet 20 or so rescue workers converged on the wreckage to move the rocks and boulders then saw the victims out of the crushed vehicle…

        These rescuers really reinforce a positive outlook for the future… God Bless Them as well as the people of the region...

        Aloha! Mike


        • #5

          I missed any word on this story so i was grateful to all of you for filling us in.

          I do take it as something that lifts the spirit that the young son survived and the heroic actions of the rescuers without regard to their own lives risked everything. It's the best of our human spirit showing.

          I like Brian, have thought about loved ones and been grateful each day for the gift of another day. It does make you think in those terms.

          my thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that are rebuilding their lives
          in a place where i too live in spirit....
          Dick Benbow


          • #6

            Young Yuta appears to have made a full recovery now, and has started to ask where his mother is. Now the delicate and difficult part of explaining what actually happened and providing the emotional care needed.
            Brian Sousa
            Koi-Bito Forum


            • #7

              Brian, I had tried to keep my chin up about the quake, the Japanese are a resilliant people, they will rebuild, etc, etc. But when I read of this story I lost it.

              As a nurse, I know that a kind of conciousness lingers in these cases, the conciousness of the heart. People will wait, hang on, untill someone comes they are waiting for. I know that mother died happy in her soul that her children had been found.

              I wonder, I am a bit mad at god. What kind of a place is this we live in, this beautiful and terrible earth? The forces that raise those mountains also bring down multigenerational houses, great grandmas, kids lost. Damn.


              • #8

                The body of little Yuta's older sister was finally pulled from the wreckage today. Efforts to recover the body had been called off until now due to the continuation of aftershocks.
                Brian Sousa
                Koi-Bito Forum


                • #9

                  its incredible that some one could have survived that it always makes me wonder if someone/thing is looking out for us .



                  • #10

                    God doesn't cause earthquakes and typoons to happen. He does allow it to happen. I think it serves a purpose to those who survive and are grateful for each day we are given. It also allows people like those who rescued this youngster a chance to risk loosing their life to give some one else a chance to live theirs. That is ,I feel ; the greatest gift that any human can give to another.

                    To: SMG
                    While I understand your thoughts and emotions over this kind of thing, I'm grateful to the creator for nurses like yourself who care about and for people.
                    Without them this place would be a lot poorer place to exist.
                    Dick Benbow


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