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Police: 200 - 300 Bodies Found on Beach Near Sendai, Japan

Police: 200 - 300 Bodies Found on Beach Near Sendai, Japan

An earthquake-triggered tsunami sweeps along Iwanuma in northern Japan on Friday.

Associated Press | USAToday

March 11, 2011

Update at 9:04 a.m. ET: TheKyodo news agency reports that 8,000 defense force troops have been dispatched for quake relief. In addition, one defense force team has been ordered to fly to Fukushima nuclear plant. Kyodo says Japan is asking the U.S.for assistance after the quake.

Update at 8:57 a.m. ET: Japan’s Kyodo news agency also reporting that police in Miyagi prefecture say between 200 to 300 bodies have been found in Sendai alone.

Earlier post: The Jiji Press news agency reports that authorities have found between 200 and 300 bodies on a beach near Sendai, Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

TOKYO (AP) — A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday. Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area.

The bodies were found in Sendai city, the closest major city to the epicenter. The magnitude 8.9 quake and 23-foot tsunami were followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

The tsunami swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Tsunami warnings blanketed the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire West Coast.

The government ordered thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant in Onahama city to evacuate because the plant’s system was unable to cool the reactor. The reactor was not leaking radiation but its core remained hot even after a shutdown. The plant is 170 miles northeast of Tokyo.

“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

Trouble was reported at two other nuclear plants as well, but there was no radiation leak at any.

Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions because of the tsunami that crashed ashore, swallowing everything in its path as it surged several miles inland before retreating. The apocalyptic images of surging water broadcast by Japanese TV networks resembled scenes from a Hollywood disaster movie.

The epicenter of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake.

Large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses or scraping under them and snapping power lines along the way. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles were seen bobbing in the water. Ships anchored in ports crashed against each other.

The highways to the worst-hit coastal areas were severely damaged and communications, including telephone lines, were snapped. Train services in northeastern Japan and in Tokyo, which normally serve 10 million people a day, were also suspended, leaving untold numbers stranded in stations or roaming the streets. Tokyo’s Narita airport was closed indefinitely.

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