This Escape Pod Could Save Lives In A Tsunami

Watching footage of the 2011 Japanese tsunami inspired Matt Duncan's design.

Australian business owner Matt Duncan usually builds steel-hulled houseboats, but he was so affected by last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan that he’s turned his focus to seaworthy survival craft. His bright orange Tsunami Survival Pod can accommodate four people for two and a half hours.

Duncan tells the Gold Coast Bulletin that he couldn’t take his eyes off the TV last spring after a tsunami ravaged Japan. “I was home the day the tsunami hit, watching it on television and just thinking, ‘What could I have done to save these people?'” he recalled. He watched hours of footage and observed how different objects responded to the action of the waves and the other debris pulled out to sea.

Within a few days, he’d designed this safety pod, using the spiral-welded steel he uses for his houseboats. It has crumple zones to absorb impacts; racing-style seats and five-point safety harnesses for four passengers; a flashing beacon to alert rescuers; and hooks for helicopters to grab and lift it to safety. It even has one-inch-thick polycarbonate windows so you don’t feel claustrophobic.

He said the pods will retail for $8,500 in Australian dollars, or about $8,872 USD, and they can fit in an average garage. A tsunami usually comes with at least some warning, so someone could conceivably wheel it out and hop in before the water rises. Check out some more images of it here.