After hours of waiting, family learns fate of loved one living in Japan

By: Yvette Yeon – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Families everywhere have been waiting to hear if their loved ones in Japan are okay. That includes a member of our own NBC12 family. One of our editors, Shawn Mclauchlan, has a brother who lives and teaches English in Sendai, close to the earthquake's epicenter.

Kyle Mclauchlan is alive; his family got that news after more than 12 hours of worrying and waiting. They're eyes glued to the TV watching those horrendous images of the earthquake's aftermath. It was the 30-year-old's third year teaching English to kids in Sendai, Japan. For family and friends here in the metro, waiting for news was almost unbearable.

"All this time we have absolutely no communication, power's been knocked out," said Kyle's brother Shawn.

Kyle, also a former Manchester volunteer EMT, worked a lot of rescues with others who all day continually checked their phones for any messages from him.

"It's devastating because it's hard to believe something like that can happen," said David Bulman. "The next thing I did was think about Kyle."

"We are worried," said Kathy Eubank. "We should be worried, but we're worrying about all of them not just him."

The 8.9 earthquake was the most powerful to strike Japan on record. It hit just 82 miles east of Sendai where Kyle works. It was hard for Shawn to watch not knowing if his brother's alive.

"You just want to say: "Hey are you ok," said Shawn. "Just a word to know that, "yeah I'm still here" would really help."

But nearly 24 hours since the quake, the family got news through Kyle's company's website that he is alive. The update was just two lines that read: "At the earthquake moment, Kyle was in his school. He headed for his colleague teacher's home in Rifu Town just north of Sendai.

It was enough to keep hope alive.

"Knowing Kyle he's a methodical person," said friend Daniel Harker. "He knows exactly what he has to do. He takes control of the situation in any language and I think he can step up and do what he needs to do to help out."

Kyle's family is still anxiously waiting to hear directly from him. Just like a lot of other families.

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