Updated Monday afternoon:
We just heard from Suzanne West that Scott West has arrived in Seattle from Japan. As of 1:15 p.m., Suzanne was waiting for him to clear customs.
My Edmonds News received word Saturday morning from Edmonds resident Suzanne West, wife of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Scott West, who was in northern Japan when the earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan earlier this week. (We wrote a few months ago about West and his 17-year-old daughter Elora, and their work last fall in Taiji, Japan, to protest the capturing and killing of dolphins there.)
While Elora is back home to continue school, her father was in the port city of Otsuchi this week when the city was essentially destroyed by the tsunami, Suzanne West said.
“He said that the gates for blocking tsunami waves were ripped from hinges, looking like some medieval gnarled metal gates,” Suzanne said.
Scott West and other members of the Sea Shepherd Society “are now safe in the mountainous area of Tono (an hour-plus drive from Otsuchi) at a hotel,” Suzanne said. When the tsunami hit, Scott and his group spent the night on a hill, Suzanne said, watching as the town was destroyed. “They walked out this morning, abandoning their cars,” she said. “It will be months before the roads in the area would let them drive out, he felt, and obviously no other way to leave but on foot.”
“At some point some kind people gave them a ride and they were almost to the hotel when they finally got some cell service and calls could be made,” she added. “He said they walked over rubble, bodies, a complete devastating mess. I asked if they had been able to help anyone… he said at one point yesterday a woman was in the water screaming for help, they tried to help but she was washed out to sea before anything could be done.
“They will assess things at the hotel and eventually make it out of there and head for Osaka but as of now we are grateful they are together and safe and so sad for the people of this region who are suffering things we cannot imagine,” Suzanne added.