Tokyo to PDX passengers describe quake

Tokyo to PDX passengers describe quake

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by Randy Neves and Erica Heartquist, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on March 14, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 15 at 6:06 AM

PORTLAND -- Flights from Tokyo to Portland began coming in Sunday and Monday after they had had been grounded since Friday.

Delta's flight 90 came in just before 9 a.m. Monday. Exchange student Isabella Harris was on that flight and said it was troubling leaving tokyo because there were two aftershocks while she was on the plane.

"I was out with a friend and at one point, we heard this huge sound of buildings crumbling on themselves," Harris said of the initial quake. "It was scary and, like, the skyscrapers in front of us started to, like, bend and they seemed as if they were about to fall on us and people were screaming an running everywhere."

Hillary Jones was back on home soil Sunday, headed to Phoenix. But she was worried sick about her fiance, who had to stay behind to work in Tokyo.

Jones was in downtown Tokyo when the earthquake hit.

"It was pretty scary," she said. "Everybody crowded into the middle of the intersection and the buildings were all swaying back and forth."

Jones planned to return to Tokyo next week and rejoin her fiance.

There were moments when she wondered if he'd been swept away.

"He was closer to the coast. He was right on the coastline so I knew there was a tsunami warning and I was just watching the footage and it was all in Japanese," she said.

Mike Nelson had been waiting anxiously for his brother and family to return from Japan. It took them a day and half just to reach the airport there. Nelson said it had been hellish for his brother.

"The one thing that kept bothering him more than anything else was the relentless aftershocks," he said. "Just constantly. Even right up until they're getting on the plane, they're hit again."

Flights resumed Sunday between Tokyo and PDX, even if the anxieties were far from over.

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