A two-year old boy has been found alive in their car nearly four days after a deadly earthquake hit northern Japan. In a drama played out on live television, emergency workers toiled for hours to shift huge boulders that had crashed onto her family’s white van to rescue a the boy before he was airlifted to hospital. His mother was taken to hospital later but was pronounced dead and rescue workers had to call off efforts to save his three-year-old sister after darkness fell.
The family was caught in a landslide on Saturday shortly after the quake struck, killing at least 31 people and injuring more than three thousand in the rural Niigata region, some 250km north of Tokyo. News of the rescue operation came just hours after another powerful tremor jolted the region. At least one building collapsed in Ojiya, one of the towns hardest hit by Saturday’s big tremor. Many of the injured in Saturday’s quake and subsequent series of big aftershocks are elderly people who have suffered heart attacks, strokes or shock. Authorities are concerned that cold weather combined with fatigue could claim more lives.