Americans awoke today to the news of a devastating earthquake and tidal wave that killed hundreds.
The earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded, brought devastation and fear all across Japan.
It then triggered a tsunami that roared ashore, sweeping away everything in its path. Cars were washed away like toys. An airport was engulfed by the wave of water sweeping across its runways. An oil refinery blazed out of control, the flames soaring into the skies. Huge sections of a northern coastal town were turned into one massive inferno.
A tidal wave of debris swept onwards, engulfing everything in its path.
Lucy Craft, a reporter in the CBS Tokyo bureau, told INSIDE EDITION about the horrific scenes all around the country.
"You saw people running in terror as debris from buildings was falling on top of them. You saw houses flattened," said Craft.
Craft was interviewing someone at the Japanese parliament, called the Diet, when the quake struck.
"There was huge swaying of the building. The Diet member and I were trying to walk across the room, we were grasping onto walls," said Craft.
People were seen openly weeping in the streets.
The earthquake triggered a massive whirlpool just off the coast of a Japanese town.
Incredible scenes were posted on youtube.com. In one video, a chandelier is violently swinging inside a house in Tokyo. In another video, a terrified family tried to huddle under a table as their home rocked. At a supermarket, people scrambled to get out of harm's way.
Like the rest of the shattered nation, Craft says she is still struggling to come to terms with the disaster.
"It was hard to believe this was actually happening for real," said Craft.