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Old 01-18-2005, 12:16 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 1969
Posts: 222
Another First-Hand Tsunami Story, Worth the Read

I was going to post in the other thread, but decided these stories need their own threads. This story was written by a British friend of my girlfriend's father. As I mentioned in the other thread, my girlfriend's parents work for an advertising agency in Singapore, and we used to vacation in Phuket over Christmas.

"Luke Simmonds works at an advertising agency and has been on our business
in the Nordics and in Asia. He's now on another assignment in London.

He was on Phi Phi island when the tsunami hit and wrote the following
narrative about his experience after returning home. It's worth a read.


> >Subject: Tsunami; as someone put it " Lucky Luke"
> >Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2005 13:03:34 +0000
> >
> >(Undoubtedly I will have missed many people off this circulation. Please
> >feel free to forward)
> >
> >
> >Dear All
> >
> >firstly, I should say thank you for your kind words. This whole
> >has been shocking but if anything good has come out of it, is the
> >knowledge that I have some of the best friends and colleagues anyone
> >have. I truly appreciate all of the calls and the messages - it does
> >
> >
> >I am ok, my injuries are nothing, just some cuts and bruises. Ironically,
> >I received nearly all of these after the event, walking or rather
> >stumbling around the island. Unfortunately, many people have not been so
> >lucky. The pictures on TV give a clear picture of the death and
> >destruction, but I haven't seen anything that comes close to depicting
> >horror of the injuries.
> >
> >A number of people have suggested that I write down my experience - I
> >think this in part will help me, but also saves me repeating the story
> >many times. I do not feel uncomfortable with sharing this story, and in
> >some respects I think it probably helps recounting what happened. Please
> >do not feel awkward if you want to talk to me about this. Below, I will
> >try to recount exactly what happened to me, before during and after. At
> >times, it will be graphic so please be warned.
> >
> >I arrived in Thailand on the 20th and spent 3 days in Phuket on Kata
> >with a Swedish girlfriend and her family. They had planned their trip for
> >months. I decided very last minute to join them before going onto meet
> >Danish friends in Koh Phi Phi, and finally onto Bangkok with friends from
> >Hong Kong for New Year. I moved onto Phi Phi on the 24th and celebrated
> >Christmas with 3 of my Danish friends - Lars and his girlfriend Rine ,
> >Jesper. On the evening of the 25th , I was exhausted so didn't join them
> >for dinner and went to bed at around 9pm. This is important as anyone who
> >knows me , will know that I tend to sleep late ! But given a long nights
> >rest , I was up early and had breakfast with Lars & Rine.
> >
> >At about 10:30 we went to the beach. Lars and I planned to go sailing ,
> >but there was no wind so we opted for water skiing. We waited for the
> >and noted the wind was picking up so we would sail afterwards. First Lars
> >skied and then it was my turn. At the moment i got into the water the
> >lagoon started to drain out - in particular on the far right hand side of
> >the bay ( as you look out to sea). Within seconds it was too shallow to
> >ski, so i climbed back into the boat. Lars, I and the driver sat there
> >just watching the water drain away without any comprehension of what was
> >to happen next. At first we saw a couple on a Kayak struggling in the
> >current - they were being sucked out to sea. But then almost immediately
> >they were on the top of a small wave kayaking into the beach at some
> >speed. We were excited by the site and just imagined they were having
> >fun. Of course we could not know of the huge volume of water that was
> >underneath them , that once it reached the shallow water would simply
> >up into a huge wave. That is basically what happened next.
> >
> >We were in the ski boat facing towards the shore, when the water passing
> >underneath us began to pull the boat around and towards the shore. Almost
> >out of nowhere there was a huge wall of water, behind us at the beach. We
> >were at the bottom of a 10 meter wave that stretched the entire length of
> >the beach, maybe 1km. I said to Lars that we were in trouble - at this
> >moment it didn't even dawn on me that the wave would pass through the
> >island causing the destruction that it did. I screamed at the driver to
> >get us out to sea, but even at full power , the boat just got sucked to
> >the bottom of the wave. The wave collapsed on the top of the boat. I
> >remember covering my head and rolling into a ball. Underwater I just kept
> >on thinking " please don't get hit by something ". I came to the surface
> >breathed, and then was pulled under again. I like to think that all of
> >diving I have done helped me - I knew not to fight the current and to
> >as long as I could before reacting. The truth is , I was just lucky. I
> >came to the surface , grabbed some more air, and then saw a huge wave
> >coming at me. I could see that it wasn't about to break where I was so i
> >took a breath and dived through it, coming up the other side. I grabbed
> >some wood to hang onto, but then saw a life jacket ( presumably from our
> >boat ) floating 10 meters away. I swam like crazy for it - in my head I
> >knew it was the best thing to do. I got it on and instantly felt safe - i
> >was afloat in the sea and things didn't look that bad for me.
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