On March 11, British teacher Robert Bailey was spending his afternoon teaching a group of Japanese students, when the ground started to shake.
The emergency system in the coastal town of Ofunato began to blare, alerting them that a massive tsunami was on the way -- and they needed to evacuate immediately, Britain's Daily Mail reports.
They had eight minutes to run for their lives.
Twenty-seven-year-old Bailey guided all 42 of the students under his care to safety atop a nearby hill. All they could do was sit and watch, praying they were high enough up to escape the tsunami's wrath, Sky News reports.
Bailey has been hailed as a hero for his accomplishment, but he shies away from praise.
His mother told The Daily Mirror,
"We're proud of him but as far as he's concerned, he's no hero. He was just doing the job he was meant to do."
Bailey and the 42 students with him are lucky to be alive. The savage wave destroyed the school and surrounding areas. Others, however, weren't so lucky.
According to the Daily Mail,
For Mr Bailey, however, there could be no celebration -- for though he led his class to safety, 137 other students are still unaccounted for. Many of these are 18-year-olds who had finished the school term and, when the tsunami came, were with their families in low-lying homes dotted along the coast.
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