It was a desperate race against time to escape the incoming tsunami for American Brian Barnes and his traveling companions.
Barnes was traveling with a group of Americans when suddenly the earth began to shake violently.
He was in Otsuchi, a small town on the coast of Japan, just north of the epicenter of the disaster in Sendai.
Barnes knew that a tsunami would be imminent after the earthquake, so he and his fellow travelers hopped into their cars and began to drive to a safer location.
They headed for a hill outside of town. As they sought refuge, warning sirens blared throughout the area.
Their cameras captured haunting images of panic-stricken people running for their lives.
Barnes says the language barrier only added to terror of the ordeal.
He continued filming once his group reached a safe elevation above sea level. Just eight minutes after the quake, the powerful wave reached the shore, demolishing everything in its path. Barnes's video shows buildings and telephone poles being crushed and swept away, a huge ship tossed around like a toy, and the ominous cloud of gray ash that filled the air.
Barnes and his colleagues spent the entire next day walking back from their safe ground, past horrifying scenes of death and devastation. They are among the lucky ones who escaped with their lives.
Barnes and his group are now headed back to the U.S.