Tsunami 2004 Survivor Stories

tsunami-waveImage: LULO

Hundreds of thousands of people witnesses experienced and survived the Asian tsunami 2004. Here are some of the incredible tsunami 2004 survivor stories.  People often die after the first tsunami wave because they return to their homes too soon or go to the beach to help stranded people or animals, only to be engulfed by another tsunami wave. If caught by a tsunami wave, it is better not to swim, but rather to grab a floating object and allow the current to carry you.more

The receding waters of the tsunami dragged people out to sea, including Malawati, a 23-year-old Indonesian woman. She survived for five days, badly sunburnt and bitten by fish, by clinging to a sago palm and eating its fruit and bark. She saw sharks all around but, incredibly, none attacked her.

Rizal Shahputra, a 23-year-old Indonesian from Banda Aceh drifted in the open ocean for eight days. Along with scores of other people, he clung to floating planks of wood. Dead bodies were all around. One-by-one everyone but Rizal was swallowed by the sea, including his family members.

The container vessel MV Durban Bridge rescued him 160 km (100 miles) west of Aceh. Emerging sunburnt and weak from a floating raft of trees and branches, Rizal had survived on rainwater and coconuts.

To stay alive at sea for eight days is exceptional. But, without anyone to rescue them, the people in Noah’s day, people who managed to cling to floating vegetation would have perished of exposure and starvation in the months that followed. more

Girl Swept Away by 2004 Tsunami Turns Up 7 Years Later

Wati was just eight years old when, on the day after Christmas 2004, the massive Indian Ocean tsunami swept her away from her mother and two sisters in Ujong Baroh, Aceh, on the island of Sumatra. Everyone assumed she was dead.

Wati, now 15, resurfaced in the nearby city of Meulaboh on Wednesday, telling the staff at a local cafe that she was trying to find her way home. She could only remember the name of one relative: her grandpa Ibrahim. They brought her to him, and a mole and small scar identified her as his missing granddaughter. Antara News reports that Wati's whereabouts the past seven years were "not immediately disclosed to reporters," except to say that she "had been to places in other districts in Aceh province."