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Survival Capsule could save lives in tsunami

They look a bit like something you'd see in space.

But they could save your life in the event of a tsunami. At least, that's according to Seattle aerospace engineer Julian Sharpe.

"I had the idea while weekending in Cannon Beach and I thought... what if a tsunami comes now," Sharpe said.

That idea turned into what is now called the Survival Capsule.

Here's how it works: When an earthquake hits offshore, instead of running to higher ground to escape the tsunami, you would strap yourself inside the pod.

The capsule would be tethered to the ground, most likely on your property, so it would float on top of the water and rise and fall with the waves.

Air vents on top allow those inside the floating pod to breath.

If it ever goes under the water, the vents can close and air tanks kick in.

The capsule is also designed to handle the impact of a tsunami and all the resulting debris.

Opinions on the pods are mixed.

"I think it's an interesting concept, an interesting idea, " said Calanthe Wilson, who lives in Manzanita. But at a cost of about $13,000 a capsule, Wilson said it's not a realistic option.

"Probably not in my budget these days, but if it were, I might look into it," she said.

Jason Cook, who has a vacation time-share in Seaside, said he would rather find higher ground.

"I don't like the idea of riding a ball throughout the tsunami," Cook said.

But Sharpe maintains he's done extensive testing and his survival capsule will do the job and more.

"I would go over the Niagara Falls in his thing," Sharpe said. "If the folks at Niagara would give me permission."

Sharpe is working on a deal right now to install the first Survival Capsule in the U.S.

Plans are to put it in Long Beach later this month.

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