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Report: Man pulled alive, but no miracle rescue

/ Source: NBC, and news services

It seemed too good to be true. A young man pulled alive from the rubble on Saturday eight days after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Hours after the man made international headlines on Saturday, a glimmer of hope in Japan's worst tragedy since World War Two, Japanese media offered a mea culpa, withdrew the story and dashed hopes of a "tsunami miracle".

The man, in fact, had been in an evacuation center and had just returned to his ruined home, where he lay down in a blanket, one of thousands of victims of Japan's magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, but not quite a miracle.

"He had been staying in the shelter since the quake and tsunami hit the coastal city on March 11 and returned home in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, around noon Friday to clean it up," news agency Kyodo News reported.

Earlier, Japanese media and the military reported that the man, in his 20s, was in shock and unable to speak when he was found in Kesennuma, one of the regions hardest hit by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

The military also confirmed the man had earlier been to an evacuation center.

The National Police Agency on Saturday raised the death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, reporting that 7,197 people had died — exceeding the deaths from the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Another 10,905 were reported missing, the police agency said.