Former Vernon Vipers defenceman Brad Farynuk and his wife, Kathy, are OK following Friday’s devastating earthquake that rocked Japan.
In an e-mail to The Morning Star Friday afternoon, Farynuk said he only had cellular Internet.
“My team was on the road in Koriyama about one hour south of Sendai (where earthquake struck),” wrote Farynuk, 29, a native of Enderby. “My wife is back in Hachinohe (our home where you see the boats and heavy tsunami damage). She slept in a car last night. No power there, and the elementary school was overflowing.
“Cannot talk to her as her phone is dead and no power to charge. Our team is stuck in a countryside motel and can’t drive back to Hachinohe because the highways are closed. Our first hotel had cracked walls so it was unfit to stay obviously.”
Farynuk was practising with his Asian Hockey League team, the Tohoku FreeBlades when the earthquake struck. The team was getting ready for a playoff series in Seoul, South Korea, when the quake hit. They skated off the ice, running onto concrete after feeling the earthquake.
“I will tell you it was terrifying when pieces of concrete started falling and lights were breaking inside the arena,” wrote Farynuk.
Kathy was safe in a shelter in the city, wrote Farynuk’s relative Chris Collard.
“Brad phoned to say he (they) are sitting on the bus, four hours-plus now, as they can’t go to their hotel as it has cracked walls and no one can go in,” said Collard. ” They have no food and all the convenience stores are empty. They can’t go home as there are landslides over the highway and they don’t know if they can get through. The arena walls are cracked and chunks of cement falling all over, lightbulbs and debris fell on the ice so the arena is done. The other team is stuck on the Shinkashen (bullet train).
“Tentatively, they plan to go to Korea for the first two games (if they can get there). The team, after initially running out in their skates, did go back in and get their gear and clothes after about an hour. Kathy is in a shelter with one of the player’s wives and their children.”
Hachinohe’ Aomori is about two hours north of Sendai, where the 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit hardest.
Reports Friday at noon Pacific time estimated at least 1,000 people were believed to have been killed by the earthquake or the related tsunami that hit Japan’s East Coast.
No Canadians were known to have been injured or killed. There are 1,512 Canadian citizens registered with the embassy in Japan.