E46Fanatics - View Single Post - Another First-Hand Tsunami Story, Worth the Read
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:17 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 1969
Posts: 224
I knew I
> >safe from drowning I just had to wait for help. I looked for Lars, saw
> >driver first, and then Lars about 150 meters away, he looked unhurt, but
> >even from that distance I could see his face had taken on a different
> >aspect. I have thought about this since and have decided that it was
> >survival.
> >
> >We were all then pushed inland , over what I now know was the Cabana
> >pool where so many people had been when the wave struck. I saw the water
> >flooding into open spaces and it was here that I got very frightened.
> >Water was rushing into fill any empty voids and I could see that I was
> >likely to go wherever the water went. I smashed into the first floor
> >balcony of the hotel and was hanging on with my body being pulled under.
> >It was too strong. I took a breath and then was pulled under the hotel
> >through the ground floor pool side balconies. I am sure i survived due to
> >the life jacket , as it was always trying to get me to the surface. I
> >think I came up around the corner of the hotel and drifted a little way
> >the back of the Hotel before swimming to a tree and climbing up.
> >
> >About 3 or 4 minutes later the water subsided. I climbed down and almost
> >immediately saw Lars and the driver , they were both fine. Then the
> >screaming started. People calling for their loved ones. At first a guy
> >looking for his daughters , Fredericke and Isabella. I asked him where
> >they had been ( in the pool ) and then I explained how far I had
> >and that we needed to spread out and walk away from the Hotel. Everywhere
> >was devastation. The small wooden bungalows were ripped open. We called
> >their names, we never found them. Then 2 French girls stuck up a tree
> >asked me to help them down. I now know from Lars that he had a similar
> >experience. Whilst looking for Fredericke and Isabella he found 2 Thai
> >girls stuck in a basement room, filling up with water. He helped them out
> >as the water was rushing in to fill the space they occupied. On a lighter
> >side, I understand one of the girls didn't want to come out as all of her
> >clothes had been pulled from her body - Lars didn't give her a choice !
> >
> >At the Cabana Hotel we started to make a hospital area. Some people came
> >on their own, others we heard screaming and we went to them. Another
> >English guy, called CC ( spelling ? ) was a psychiatrist, and so we kind
> >of appointed him in charge. The first girl we collected from the rubble
> >was an English girl called Sally. She was covered in the most severe cuts
> >i have ever seen. Imagine those documentaries about liposuction, etc.....
> >it was like that. Gaping holes with grotesque cuts in the flesh, to the
> >bone. She had at least 7 lacerations over her legs and tummy. We saw
> >wounds like this throughout the day caused by the debris in the water.
> >bungalows often had their roofs made of corrugated iron, which travelling
> >through the water at 40 KPH clearly just tore through bodies. We kicked
> >down a door to use as a stretcher and carried her to the first floor. She
> >was the first , and then they just kept coming. A Japanese husband and
> >wife. The wife had lost half of her throat. We simply held her neck
> >together. A Swedish women whose head was cleaved open - we tied her head
> >together. A Japanese girl whose leg was so badly broken , we decided that
> >we had to put it straight. I held her hand, and kissed her, whilst crying
> >with her, as 3 guys pulled her leg straight. It took 3 or 4 minutes of
> >most unbelievable pain for this girl. She was amazing. I am still trying
> >to find her. I know it was the stress of the situation but somehow there
> >was a very special connection between us. Afterwards we all prayed for
> >rest of her group. She was missing 16 people ! I have since contacted
> >Japanese newspapers as I feel that I will find it hard to put this behind
> >me until I know what happened to her. I would get on a flight to Japan in
> >an instant if I knew that I could see her again. Then there was an
> >boy , travelling on his own, I think called Tommy. He had a major cut by
> >his armpit and was petrified that he would lose his arm. I cleaned out
> >wound whilst trying to give reassurance. I'm pretty sure he would be OK
> >he was able to move everything - It just looked so horrible. Whilst we
> >were helping someone , often you would hear , " Doctor , please come and
> >help my friend." I didn't know whether to explain that I wasn't a Doctor
> >or not. 9 times out of 10 , I said I wasn't, but still people were
> >desperate for help.
> >
> >I think it was about 12:30 now and around this time the first reports of
> >more waves came. They never did, but the effect was to cause even more
> >panic. Around this time I met another amazing person. Michelle walked
> >and asked if she could help. You need to understand we had very little.
> >were sending people off to the rooms ( if they were prepared to leave the
> >relative shelter of high ground ) to get water from the mini bars, cleans
> >sheets , and the sewing kits ( we thought we might have to sew up some of
> >the wounds... fortunately we did not ). I looked at Michelle and could
> >tell she was holding back. I said we needed help , but how was she and
> >was she with ? Her husband was missing , he'd been swimming. We cried ,
> >but then she just said, " right, lets help these people".... unbelievable
> >! An hour later, her husband Marvin walked in , unhurt !!!! I cannot
> >describe to you that moment , it was pure joy.
> >
> >At around 14:00 we heard that a boat was coming in. CC and I spoke and
> >where concerned that people would panic and rush for the boat. He pointed
> >out we would have to restrain people. I made an announcement about what
> >was happening and said that only the most injured would be allowed to
> >leave and that CC would decide who they were.... i think we all knew who
> >had to go. The boat came in and we carried about 20 people down to the
> >boat on doors, deck chairs, etc. We took Sally, the 3 Japanese, a number
> >of Swedish and Thai people..... i think it was about 20 people in total
> >that went on that first boat.
> >
> >After that I tried to make it over to my Hotel to find my friends. Lars
> >and I had got separated and I hadn't seen him since the water first
> >subsided. It was impossible to cross the island and it was in this
> >that I started to see how bad the destruction was. In the 200 meters i
> >travelled I saw at least 20 dead bodies. I gave up and went back to the
> >Cabana Hotel. Time went by and as more warnings of waves came in , people
> >left to goto higher ground ... up the mountain. A number of people stayed
> >and were debating the risks. To get to the mountain was probably 30
> >minutes across flat ground of total destruction. If a wave came and you
> >were out there, you were dead. Simple as that. At about 4pm a guy came in
> >with a walkie talkie and confirmed that another bigger wave was coming
> >that we were not high enough. This wave never came, but again the damage
> >was done. Those that could walk left. I decided it was time i had to go
> >too.
> >
> >As I was leaving a S.African family , mother, grandmother, aunt and
> >girl were making their way very slowly. They all had cuts to the legs. As
> >I understand it, the little girl had drowned but they had given CPR and
> >brought her back to life , but she was unresponsive. I said to the mother
> >I would take her and go. I am not sure if she really understood. She
> >passed me the little girl, and I went. I was very frightened. I did not
> >look back. This has given me some nightmares. I got to the mountain and
> >was impossible to get up whilst holding a little unconscious 6 year old.
> >An English guy helped me ( his name may have been Adam and his girlfriend
> >Emma ) , and we only got up about 15 meters. I sat there with her in my
> >arms trying to feed her 'sugar water' for about 2 hours. Eventually I
> >decided she would not make it unless she got to a hospital. I climbed
> >down the mountain , which I could not have done without the help of an
> >American guy called Larry and crossed the island ( unbelievably scary ,
> >fear of another wave ) , got to the beach where there was a boat with
> >about 100 people trying to board from 1 plank. The Thai's saw me with
> >little girl and just hoisted me aboard. Going out to sea was one of the
> >most bizarre moments. The harbour was full of debris and dead bodies.
> >silent. Everyone frightened of another wave.
> >
> >At sea , we boarded a bigger boat and waited for other boats to join us.
> >still held the little girl in my arms. Her name I thought was Shania (
> >had whispered it in a moment of consciousness ) , I later found out it
> >Chane.
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