Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 4.060: Eight point nine

After an uneventful journey by train across Tokyo to Narita airport, I boarded my flight. We made it to the end of the runway.

Gradually we realised that we were stationary but the plane was rocking violently. At one point it looked like the wing was flexing nearly enough to ground the engines. My only thought was that it was the down-draught from a near miss with another plane. It was quite a relief to hear from the flight deck that it was an earthquake. Of course at that point we did not know how major it was.

When it became clear we were not leaving immediately, we started to get information from elsewhere. First 7.9 then 8.8 and then 8.9. Of course we
soon started to wonder about the tsunami threat.

I tweeted about what was going on while looking up the latest news. You
can read the as it happened here: @the_exile

Eventually we heard that the terminal was evacuated but there were people back in the tower and sending out a tug to take us back to the buildings. We got there 4 hours after we'd left to find that the safe area was full and we could not leave the plane. We sat and had a meal while watching the cases and cargo being unloaded and taken away then later brought back and reloaded. It seems that Delta had de-cancelled our flight having realised that staying Tokyo would not be good. In the end we took off seven hours late. In total we were on the plane for nearly twenty hours.

When I cleared immigration and customs I heard that I was booked on another flight home this evening. But it turned out that that flight was cancelled so I should be heading home at lunchtime tomorrow.

This is my view of the earthquake. Actually it was just afterwards, but apart from a little wing flexing it was the same in this wide flat location.

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