Manchester

BBC Philharmonic back in Manchester after Japan quake

Members of a BBC orchestra caught up in the Japanese earthquake have arrived back in Manchester.

Ninety musicians with the Oxford Road-based BBC Philharmonic experienced the 9.0-magnitude tremor travelling on a coach from Tokyo to Yokohama.

The orchestra was scheduled to perform 10 concerts across the country but cancelled its last four to return home.

The coach was crossing a suspension bridge when the earthquake struck about 80 miles (130km) off the Pacific coast.

Members of the orchestra who left the UK on 1 March, returned home to Manchester Airport earlier.

Trumpet player Jamie Prophet was one of the first through the doors at Terminal One and was greeted by his pregnant wife, Melody.

"It's such a relief, a real, real relief," he said.

"It was an incredibly anxious time for us all and people dealt with it very, very well.

"But it's so nice to be here in Manchester."

One of the musicians captured footage of the moment the earthquake struck on his mobile phone.

Another member, violin player Tom Bangbala, told the BBC it initially felt like the coach had run over something in the road.

'Violent' swaying

"Suddenly, all the traffic stopped and it got more and more violent," he said.

"This highest suspension bridge in Japan over Tokyo harbour - a long way down - and the coach is rocking from side to side.

"The only point of reference was the other vehicles - because of course the bridge is rocking with you - and we looked up to the lighting gantries and they were just swaying.

"We really thought the coach was going over."

Relief efforts are continuing in Japan five days after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated large areas of the coast.

The latest death toll stands at about 2,400, but some estimates suggest at least 10,000 may have died.

Officials are currently battling a crisis at the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has been rocked by three explosions.

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