crescent city california
March 18, 2014

Fukushima Boat Recovery


Shelby: Three years ago, a devastating tsunami ripped through Japan, sending tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. The debris has travelled thousands of miles in various directions, but one little piece managed to wash up in just the right place. Tom Hanson has the story.

Tom: On California’s rugged, rocky, far north coast, this small boat that washed ashore on Crescent City last spring started something big.

Joyce: The boat came here for a reason. There was a reason it was here.

Tom: That reason became clear to John Stevens and his classmates. The boat came here to unite two towns.

John Stevens: It’s definitely mind-blowing thinking that this boat travelled upside down two years all the way across the ocean to get here.

Tom: John recruited five friends to clean off the barnacles. Through Facebook they connected with the boat’s owner: a high school in Rikuzentakata, a town in Japan, not much bigger than theirs, virtually wiped away by the tsunami in 2011. And for these students, it was a chance to restore another thing the tsunami had seemingly taken away.

Griffin Walker: The boat was one of the few remaining things that had survived. It was a big symbol of hope for them and we wanted to give it back to them.

Scott: The students raised enough money and support to send the boat back to Japan and to even go there themselves. Last month, they travelled to Rikuzentakata and were welcomed as heroes.

John: I think when we all saw the cameras, we realized how big it actually was over there.

Tom: The students had an immediate bond from the classroom to the gym. And even though there were some differences, they have one big thing in common: tsunamis. In 2011, the same earthquake that created the Japanese tsunami also sent a wall of water crashing through Crescent City’s harbor, destroying boats and docks. And back in 1964, much of the community was also wiped away by a tsunami.

Haile Dearman: The boat could have ended up anywhere in the world, and it ended up here. It travelled over 5,000 miles and it made it.

Joyce: There was a reason it was here. Because I believe things don’t happen just because.

Tom: Something this community can understand better than most.

Tom Hanson, Channel One News.

Shelby: Thanks, Tom.

Well, that is it for our show. Try and do something brave today, and we will see you back here in the newsroom tomorrow!


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