Friday, March 18, 2011

International sled hockey players were on ice in Nagano, Japan, when earthquake hit

From the Deseret News in Utah:

PARK CITY, Utah — Paralympics gold medalist Greg Shaw (pictured) and the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team were playing in an international tournament in Nagano, Japan, on March 11 when their adventure on the ice turned into an adventure getting away from the ice.

Shaw told his mother, Susan, the ice beneath him began to roll and the huge speakers overhead began shaking fiercely. "They were playing their first game on the ice when the earthquake hit," she said.

The team was quite far from the epicenter of the quake, and the worst shake Greg Shaw would experience came the next day when he was in his seventh-floor hotel room.

"He was Skyping his brother, and everything started to rumble and shake and move back and forth," Susan Shaw said. The rocking came from a 6.6-magnitude aftershock. "He said it was like being on a bad roller coaster ride."

The team began its journey home on Sunday, traveling to Tokyo with the hope of finding a flight back to the United States. She said they hoped to get on a flight either late Monday or Tuesday morning.

"You send your children off, and you think they're going to have a marvelous time, and something like this happens, and you never expect it," Susan Shaw said, adding that she is worried about road conditions and the availability of food. "As a mother, you're always a little on edge with your children gone."