Hampshire Firefighters Leaving Japan

The combined US and UK search teams - which includes Hampshire and West Sussex firefighters - have finished their search operations in Japan.

No survivors were found in the towns of Ofunato and Kamaishi by the crews despite an extensive search.

Heavy snow and falling temperatures six days after the start of the disaster mean there is now is an extremely low chance of finding survivors. 

Therefore following a discussion with the Japanese disaster authorities, the UK team and their US counterparts have agreed not to extend their rescue operations and will begin to withdraw from Japan.

The team plans to travel 200km North to the airport in Misawa where they had initially landed.

Nick Maskery from Southampton, who is a doctor working with the UK-ISAR team in Japan said:

"The whole area is totally devastated.

"Chances of survival in these buildings are very slim, they'd have to be in a space, above water and uninjured.

"But there's always a glimmer of hope.

"I went to the Sumatra quake, but the degree of destruction was nowhere near.

"There are undamaged houses next to complete devastation.

"Haiti was similar in some ways but houses here have been smashed to pieces, with debris tossed around.

"We've seen boats stranded far inland.

"I'm there to keep an eye on the firefighters, to be there if they get injured.

"Luckily it's only aches and pains so far."

The team say they remain fit, well and in good spirits.