Join Date: Dec 1969
We arrived at Phuket town at approx 22:30 and were the first into
> >an ambulance , with 2 other English guys I met on the boat - Jimbo (21 )
> >and Mark (32 ). We went to the Mission Hospital and got the little girl
> >into intensive Care - I had not put her down for 8 hours. I now have some
> >understanding of what it must mean to be a parent and I look forward to
> >that day for me. Later though, we had to move to the Government hospital
> >to get a brain scan. All ok, so back to Mission hospital. Throughout the
> >night I tried to find relatives of the little girl. I called S.African
> >embassy ( shut ) so left a message of who i was, where i was , and who i
> >had. Spoke to British embassy and repeated the story. In intensive care
> >there were 2 other Europeans - Angelika from Austria, and Antonio from
> >Portugal. Antonio's girlfriend Anna was there , unhurt, so we talked a
> >lot. She helped me. I felt very responsible for the little girl and was
> >suffering some guilt at taking her from the Mother. I kept on thinking
> >about how the Mother must be feeling, not knowing where and how her
> >girl was.
> >Later on I noticed the Austrian women ( who I would find out was called
> >Angelika Thomes ) looking in my direction. I went over to speak to her. "
> >How are you , are you ok ?" She just burst into tears - she had lost her
> >husband and 15 year old son. I told her that I would go and phone the
> >Austrian embassy and give them her details. The next day we heard that
> >both her husband and son were alive and well ! Such happiness. During the
> >night I called Angelika's friend in Austria ( Karin ) and told her what
> >was going on, who I was and where we were. An hour later a call was
> >to me " Doctor Luke , this is Angelika's Doctor in Austria " !!!!!! This
> >happened on a number of occasions, people mistaking you for a Doctor. I
> >must say this was quite surreal. Especially as I was wearing a pair of
> >ripped shorts from the day before. Her Doctor and I spoke and he was just
> >happy to be able to talk to someone properly in English. I love the Thai
> >people, they are simply one of the , if not THE, kindest races out there,
> >but in our hospital language was a problem. In the intensive care unit
> >one of the nurses spoke English. Often I would go down to the
> >administration department to talk to the staff there who were excellent
> >and were really trying to help, but it was chaos at the hospitals.
> >worse was the lists - names were spelt wrong, nationalities wrong,etc.
> >this made it more complicated to find people.
> >I slept a few hours at the hospital and about 6am the little girl Chane
> >opened her eyes. We played a game of trying to spell out her surname. I
> >held up letters in front of her and she nodded or pointed at them. Her
> >surname was PANAINO. I ran ( hobbled ) downstairs to phone the embassy. I
> >kind of broke down at this point for a little while. I had been desperate
> >to find her parents, but with no name ,and her not talking it seemed an
> >impossible task. Now it seemed just a matter of time. At this point I
> >still hadn't spoken to anyone from home or any of my friends. Losing your
> >mobile phone cuts you off from the world. How many numbers do you know ?
> >didn't know many and was too tired to concentrate. I was leaving messages
> >at home , my Brothers mobile, even tried the office. But hadn't spoken to
> >anyone. I called my own mobile and heard messages of people calling in.
> >Most importantly I heard that Anneli ( my Swedish girlfriend ) and her
> >family were fine. However, the desperation in her voice was clear. She
> >wanted me to call her but didn't leave her number ! I tried to call her
> >Hotel but the lines were down, so no way to tell her I was ok. I then
> >realised that if i could get my messages I could re-record my own
> >So I called back and did this. Unfortunately it did not save the message,
> >so it wasn't until i called back 6 hours later that I realised this. I
> >recorded a new message which I think many of you heard.
> >At about 9am I walked through the hospital reception and heard my name
> >shouted. Corny i know, but of all the hospitals in all the towns, there
> >was Lars and his girlfriend Rine !!! Both of them well , cuts & bruises.
> >No sign of Jesper and today as I write this almost a week later we still
> >have no news. I think we accept that he has gone, but just hope he did
> >suffer and that we can find his body. We left the Hospital to goto the
> >Pearl Hotel where all the Scandinavians were being moved to. I stayed
> >them a little while but felt disconnected and isolated. I wanted to be
> >around British people and I wanted to go back to the Hospital to find out
> >how Chane was, so i left.
> >I have spoken to Lars about what happened to Jesper and this is all we
> >know : Jesper was on the beach with Rine when they saw the wave coming.
> >first they gathered up some of our belongings and then started to run
> >through the Hotel bungalows that we had been staying at - Phi Phi
> >Running in flip flops is hard. Jesper fell over and Rine fell on top of
> >him. They got up, left everything and carried on running. They were
> >separated. Rine was trying to get up some stairs when the water came. She
> >was hanging onto the top step, with water up to her neck, when two Thai
> >guys pulled her up to safety. She did not see what happened to Jesper.
> >Back at the hospital , at about 11am, a nurse came in holding a mobile
> >phone which she shoved next to the ear of Chane.... it was Daddy !!!
> >could not talk, i took the phone. It was not her Dad, but her Uncle
> >I told him who I was and where we were. He arrived 30 minutes later and
> >collapsed into my arms. Actually I collapsed into his too. We just cried
> >and hugged. He had spoken to the Auntie and knew who I was. The mother
> >Grand mother were all fine just miles away. I explained the story and how
> >guilty i felt for taking her. He was brilliant and just thanked me for
> >saving her life and told me that the mother was so grateful. Since
> >back to the UK, I have called the hospital , the mother was there, we
> >spoke, it was great ... nothing else to be said !
> >I think around 14:00 i had this sense that it was time for me to leave.
> >There was no-one else left who I was connected with that hadn't met their
> >family / friends, yet I was on my own and still hadn't spoken to anyone.
> >went to the City Hall to get papers but gave up after an hour when
> >said, just get upto Bangkok and sort it out there - a Thai guy gave me
> >shoes he was wearing , a t-shirt from someone else. I went to Phuket
> >airport and waited 5 hours before getting on free flight from Thai
> >Airways. At the airport I met the 2 French girls I had got down from the
> >tree 36 hours earlier !!! I became part of their extended family as they
> >had been 'adopted' by a French guy , Bernard , and his wife and Kids. At
> >Bangkok, within 30 minutes I had a piece of paper to admit me to the UK,
> >and within 1 hour I was on the BA flight that had come from Sydney, First
> >Class. I lost the plot here. For about an hour I was in 'shock'. I could
> >not stop shaking and crying, I think the plane represented home. The
> >were great and I really must contact BA to let them know that the crew on
> >that flight helped me significantly.
> >Home, my Brother , the Press, guilt. I am safe , unhurt and I was out so
> >quickly. Every day I think about what happened and whether I could have
> >done more. I have a strong urge to go back, but think that first I will
> >have to goto Denmark to be with my friends there to deal with the loss of
> >Jesper. I sleep , but wake up very early. I am glued to the TV. I have
> >contacted the press, as some of you will have seen. I want to know what
> >happened to the people we helped. Last night Sally's Mum called. She is
> >recovering in Bangkok hospital. Another amazing call from a Mum who was
> >frightened for her daughter. She knows the extent of Sally's injuries,
> >she is alive and will recover. I hope to go and see them in Jersey when
> >they are ready.
> >I am now just looking for the Japanese girl. I have sent an email to some
> >of the papers out there and hope that someone will pick up on the story -
> >I hope so.
> >I lost everything out there. The only thing I came back with were the
> >shorts I was wearing and lots of paper with names , telephone numbers,
> >messages to give to family and friends. I know that I am very lucky to be
> >alive. We must do everything we can to help those that have not been so
> >lucky. I urge you to go and make a financial donation - if you have done
> >it already , do it again. I am trying to get a passport so I can goto
> >Denmark, but it seems that it may take some days. I will come to the
> >office and already I have read all of your mails. Please forgive me If I
> >have not written back yet, I hope that this 'story' will answer your
> >questions. I cannot wait to see you all soon.
> >All my love