Grand Prairie Family Separated by Japanese Earthquake

Man's wife, sons visiting family in Japan when quake struck

By Randy McIlwain
|  Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011  |  Updated 8:24 PM CDT
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<a title=William Hall's wife and two children are stuck in a small city just south of Gunma in Japan, they're trying to travel 90 miles to get to the Tokyo airport and back to Grand Prairie. Meanwhile all Hall can do is wait." />

Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com

William Hall's wife and two children are stuck in a small city just south of Gunma in Japan, they're trying to travel 90 miles to get to the Tokyo airport and back to Grand Prairie. Meanwhile all Hall can do is wait.

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A Grand Prairie man is praying for the safe return of his wife and sons, who are stranded in Japan after last week's massive earthquake.

His wife, Yoshiko, and their 5-year-old son Isaac have been in Japan since October. His wife gave birth there in December so her ailing father could bond with his new grandson.

"He can see this birth of a child and be part of it, because we're not sure how long he's got," Hall said.

His wife and their children planned to return home earlier this week after spending time with her family. But the earthquake, tsunami and the threat of a nuclear disaster have prevented their return.

"It's the parental instinct is to protect your children at all costs," Hall said. "You can only do that if they're physically next to you."

Power outages have limited Hall's ability to contact his wife by phone or online, and news reports that he is watching around the clock only tell stories of more potential disaster by exposure to radiation.

"It's been a slow escalation of just, you know, panic," he said. "I don't know what to do anymore; I have no idea.

Hall is working on getting a new passport so he can at least be with his family and the son he's never met. He sent his passport to his family for his son's birth certificate.

But the number of flights to Japan are limited.

He said that worries that a visit that had the best of intentions may ultimately result in dire consequences.

"I didn't know at the time when I was telling him at the airport that I wasn't going to see him (his son) for a long time that it could have meant forever," Hall said. "If they don't make it out, that is forever; that's it."

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