Jin Abe, 16, wrapped Sumi Abe in blankets to keep her warm, putting his own welfare at risk. All he had to keep out the bitter cold and snow were towels.
Yesterday Jin and Mrs Abe were pulled from the wreckage of their home in the flattened city of Ishinomaki, about 30 miles from Sendai.
Rescued at last: Sumi Abe after being pulled from the wreckage of her home
Rescuers help 80-year-old Sumi Abe. She and her 16-year-old grandson Jin were pulled from the rubble in the city of Ishimaki after nine days
The teenager his hooked up before being airlifted to hospital. He and his grandmother were found buried in the kitchen of their home
Rescuers found them after hearing a cry from Jin, who had struggled to reach the only sign of daylight in the wreckage.
When the rescue team reached him by clambering up a ‘hillside’ of wood he was in a state of collapse, but managed to whisper: ‘There’s someone else inside who needs help – she’s my grandmother.’
To their astonishment, the police team found Mrs Abe alive and coherent, complete with intact spectacles – but trapped under furniture that had fallen onto her.
Ignoring his own welfare for the sake of the old lady, Jin had begun to suffer from a low body temperature, which can lead to a collapse of vital organs and death.
There was a little food in the refrigerator and they also had some water. There was no mobile phone signal so Jin waited patiently with his grandmother before he decided that, with no sign of help, something had to be done. ‘I managed to push away the rubble and work my way up to the roof through a small hole,’ he said.
Before she and her grandson were hoisted from the debris into a helicopter, the old lady said: ‘I’m all right. I have a pain in my leg because something fell on it, but otherwise I have no complaints.’
One of the survivors is transported from a helicopter at Ishinomaki Red Cross hospital in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture
The two people rescued had had responded to shouts from a police rescue team. Rescuers sift through the remains of a property in the suburb of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
At Ishinomomaki's Red Cross hospital, where the survivors had been taken, a spokesman said they were receiving treatment.
'I had only a glimpse of the elderly woman, who had her eyes closed,' said the spokesman. 'She didn't appear to be dead.'
The remarkable news comes as authorities today announced they had restored power to the Fukushima plant.
Three hundred engineers have been struggling inside the danger zone to salvage the six-reactor plant in the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.
'I think the situation is improving step by step,' Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama told a news conference.
The workers, braving high radiation levels in suits sealed in duct tape, managed to connect power to the No. 2 reactor, crucial to their attempts to cool it down and limit the leak of deadly radiation, Kyodo news agency said.
It added that plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) aimed to restore the control room function, lights and the cooling at the No. 1 reactor, which is connected to the No.2 reactor by cable.
But rising cases of contaminated vegetables, dust and water have raised new fears and the government said it will decide by Monday on whether to restrict consumption and shipments of food from the quake zone.
Police said they believed more than 15,000 people had been killed by the double disaster in Miyagi prefecture, one of four in Japan's northeast that took the brunt of the tsunami damage. In total, more than 20,000 are dead or missing, police said.
The unprecedented crisis will cost the world's third largest economy as much as $248 billion and require Japan's biggest reconstruction push since post-World War Two. ( dailymail.co.uk )