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Surviving The Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation

Airs Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: A survivor walks amid the rubble after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011.

Refugees comfort one another after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011.
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Above: Refugees comfort one another after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011.

Survivors of the tsunami that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011
Enlarge this image

Above: Survivors of the tsunami that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011

Courtesy of NHK

Destruction in the small town of Kuji, Japan.

Explore the science behind the headlines in PBS’ premier science series. With compelling stories and spectacular visuals, NOVA programs demystify science and technology for viewers of all ages and spotlight people involved in scientific pursuits.

"Surviving The Tsunami" - The earthquake that hit the northern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was recorded at magnitude 9.0—the worst ever recorded in Japan. It generated an unprecedented tsunami, obliterating coastal villages and towns in a matter of minutes. In some areas, the tsunami climbed over 100 feet in height and traveled miles inland.

Amazingly, amateur and professional photographers captured it all on video, including remarkable tales of human survival, as ordinary citizens became heroes in a drama they never could have imagined.

As the waves rush in, a daughter struggles to help her elderly mother ascend their rooftop to safety; a man climbs onto an overpass just as the wave overtakes his car. These never-before-seen stories are captured in video and retold after-the-fact by the survivors who reveal what they were thinking as they made their life-saving decisions. Their stories provide lessons on how we should all act in the face of life-threatening disasters.

"Surviving The Tsunami" was originally produced and broadcast in Japan by NHK, Japan's public broadcaster. This program originally aired in 2011.

Past episodes of NOVA are available for online viewing. NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: Surviving The Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation