Tsunami dog found alive at sea

Last updated 09:44 02/04/2011

A dog has been rescued off the coast of Japan after surviving the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and then a further three weeks alone at sea.

Tsunami survivor dog
Japan Coast Guard
ALMOST OVER: Japan Coast Guard members work to rescue the dog after its three week ordeal.
Tsunami survivor dog
Japan Coast Guard
RESCUED: The fearful dog eventually accepts the kindness of strangers.

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Three weeks after being swept out to sea by Japan's devastating tsunami, a dog was found alive on a floating island of debris.

Crew on a Japan Coastguard helicopter circling the wreckage of a house floating on the ocean got a surprise when they saw the dog scramble out from beneath the rubble.

The house had been washed away not far from the Kesennuma coast in northern Japan, following the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left more than 28,000 people dead or missing and damaged six nuclear reactors.

As the helicopter moved in closer, the frightened dog retreated below the rubble, forcing rescuers to winch down.

The dog was eventually rescued by a coast guard boat when the helicopter reportedly ran out of fuel.

Japanese broadcaster NTV said there were hopes that the dog would be able to lead the coastguard to its owner.

A massive search and recovery operation is underway to find 18,000 people still missing and now presumed dead.

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