Relieved Oak Harbor parents learn daughter safe in Japan after 'quake, tsunami
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
March 17, 2011 · 3:52 PM
Oak Harbor residents Rick and Julie Davies finally got to hear their daughter's voice again Thursday morning.
Bethany Davies was teaching at a Japanese school in a town hard hit by the 9.0-magniture earthquake and flooded with tsunami waters. Her parents were frantic to hear from her after days of waiting, but got their wish when the call miraculously went through to her cell phone.
"It's a really big relief to actually get to talk to her and find out she's really OK," Rick said.
Bethany, a 2004 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, had been teaching kindergarten in the town of Ishinomaki, just 15 kilometers from Sendai, since February. The children had gone home for lunch when the catastrophe occurred, but the teachers were trapped in the building surrounded by three feet of flood water.
"They survived on candy and water for five days," Rick said.
The teachers and other staff members didn't know what happened until finally "the boss," Rick explained, was able to get out and brought back some newspapers. The flooding eventually receded far enough that she was able to walk back to her apartment.
Nobody at this point seems to know what happened to the children, Rick said.
During her ordeal, Bethany sent off text messages to a number of people to let them know she was OK, but only one friend in Tokyo got the message. Fortunately, he posted a message on Bethany's Facebook page Tuesday morning to let her parents know she was alive and well.
Rick and Julie were comforted by the message Tuesday morning, but weren't truly relieved until they heard her voice.
Bethany will be headed to Tokyo soon, where she has a dozen friends willing to open their homes to her. She hasn't decided whether she'll come back to Oak Harbor soon.
"Knowing her, she'll want to stay and help with rescue and relief efforts," her father said.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.