Monday, January 03, 2005

First person account from Bankok

The boys came running out and joined us at the top of the beach. The water was racing away from us now and we could see the wave forming, probably a 1/2 mile out to sea. The beach now streached 400-500 yard out to sea. I could see a few fish flopping in the sand as the receding water left them behind. Then we saw it, the white crest of a massive wave breaking to the south of us moving in our direction. Roger said 'I think we need to get out of here, NOW!' and started motioning for the boys to run down the path away from the ocean. Carrie and I stood there mesmerized but the unique beauty of what we were witnessing. Then the beauty turned to shear terror as my brain subconsciously calculated that this wave as going to be 20 ft high when it reach the spot I was standing on and traveling at a speed that would put it there in a matter of 10-20 seconds. Joellen and the kids (ours and theirs) had about a 100 yards head start when I turned to Carrie and said 'RUN!!'. I am positive that the next 10 secs was the fastest I had ever run in my life....

Blogging from Thailand, Scott Raderstorf relates as eyewitness and escapee from the tsunami. His account reads like pages from a novel, except this was for real. The link is from Fred Field. Raderstorf's story has a good ending, but many of his hosts were killed by the waves.

An email brings him up to date...

...The school is a pile of rubble and apparently there were a few kids as well as the teacher in it when the wave struck. The teacher is dead as well as lots of the kids. There are 39 definite deaths and one body still unaccounted for. That is about one fifth of the population of the village. The body of Lek's son has been found and Nut's brother's family are all dead.We went to the fishing village near the mangroves and it's unbelievable. There is nothing left at all. It's not like there's some foundations or rubble because the houses were all wooden. A government worker went to asses the situation and said that there was no disaster because he couldn't see any sign that humans had lived there. All the kids were killed and every adult except for two who climbed trees. The bodies of the rest have been found. The only sign that humans have been there for any length of tine is a kid's swing left swaying poignantly in the wind; unfortunately there's no-one left to swing on it now. When you think of all the kids shouting "Hello!!" at you it really brings tears to your eyes.Some of the villagers up near the mangroves saw the wave coming and instead of climbing a tree they got on their motorbikes with their families and tried to beat the wave to the school where they could turn left and move away from the sea. None of them made it. What was even worse was that we were driving back to the centre and we saw a woman lying in the road. We put her in the back of the pickup and then took her down the road to some paramedics. She was ok and not involved in the wave- she'd just fainted upon finding her son's body.We have also been to Hat Praphat Beach where the Research station is that works closely with the turtle project - the little village there is worse than Baan Talae Nok. There are seventy dead which is about eighty percent of the village. The carnage is unbelievable.

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