Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Japan earthquake: ‘Pandemonium reigned’

Gas storage facilities burn in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, Saturday morning, March 12, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday
Houses are in flames while the Natori river is flooded over the surrounding area by tsunami tidal waves in Natori city, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, March 11, 2011, after strong earthquakes hit the area
Reporters at the Associated Press Tokyo Bureau in Tokyo take shelter under a table while a strong earthquake strikes eastern Japan Friday afternoon, March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Cartan McLaughlin has told how he made his three children hide under a coffee table during the aftershocks of the earthquake.

The Co Antrim finance director rushed home to his young family when the quake hit while he was at work yesterday afternoon.

“I was on the trading floor when the earthquake started and it was absolute pandemonium,” he said.

“When there’s an earthquake like that, all the elevators go out so I had to walk down 25 floors.”

He added: “My kids were at home with the nanny and she was in convulsions. As soon as I got home I tried to calm her down and got the kids under the table before the second quake hit.”

Cartan (39), a former pupil at St Louis Grammar School in Ballymena, has lived in Tokyo for nearly 20 years and works in a financial software company.

After the tsunami brought down phone lines he panicked when he was unable to get hold of his wife, a doctor in a nearby hospital, but he managed to get his office in Singapore to call and check she was alive.

Cartan said his children, aged seven months, two and five years old, were mostly unaffected by the quake.

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