One of my companies clients is Singapore Airlines and so a few of my coworkers were sent to Singapore. Quite a few of them went on vacation in areas hit by the Tsunami. This really didn't occur to me until I got an email saying everyone came out OK. Crystal, a coworker I from Seattle who I don't know was in Phuket.
Subject: We Survived
For those of you that don’t know we arrived in Phuket, Thailand on Dec. 16th and were planning to leave on Dec. 26th from the Kamala Beach Hotel and Resort. We are still in Thailand. We are trying to get a flight out tonight. We had a floor level bungalow on the Kamala Beach in Phuket.
We felt a slight movement around 8am and didn’t think anything of it. Quickly after we heard screaming and people running from outside our window. Immediately after water started pouring into our room. Jimmy and I jumped on top of the furniture and luckily he unplugged the TV that was on before the water hit it. Within three seconds our entire room was filled with water. I had a hold of the doorway and Jimmy kept being pushed back by the strong water and floating furniture kept appearing in front of him (I thought for sure we were going to die).
I reached out my arm and some how Jimmy got enough strength to swim against the water and debris and grab my arm. We went under the water to get out of our room and the current swept us inland. Jimmy yelled, “grab onto anything you can.” He grabbed a tree branch and I came right behind him and luckily grabbed onto the same tree. I got some footing onto a cement block and Jimmy pulled his way towards me and we climbed the tree. There was an elderly man in his bathing suite with blood on his face in the same tree. We climbed the tree and the water went back to sea pulling everything (cars, people, debris), I remember Jimmy saying that he remembered watching the Discovery Channel on Tsunamis and he said that we need to climb the tree because a second wave will come.
Quickly Jimmy, the elderly man and I climbed the tree, then the second wave came and it was 10 feet higher than the first. We clung onto the tree and waited for 2 hours as we watched larger trees get swept away, cars and Jimmy saw people attempting CPR on others but it was too late for them. People from the hotel were trying to get us to jump into the current and swim to them, but the water was going out to sea to fast so we stayed in the tree.
After the third wave hit there was a moment of silence and still water, we told the elderly man to grab the rope made out of bed sheets. He grabbed it and the hotel staff pulled him in. We couldn’t go that way because the current picked up again right after he was pulled up to safety. After awhile we climbed down the tree and found a lifesaver and lounge chair matt. We grabbed them and started to run into the city.
There were puddles of water and one of them pulled us both under because the sea had taken the cement from the pathway. We then ran towards town, Jimmy had no shoes and there was glass everywhere. We ran up to a second floor apartment where we met several people (one woman had a 8 month old baby and a two year old, she was glad that this happened on a Sunday because normally her two year old is at preschool which is located on Kamala Beach) the water did not reach there apartment so they were all okay, but unfortunately their neighbors were not as lucky. Their neighbor lost an infant as the family was visiting the beach that day. They gave us water and dry clothing and a pair of sandals for Jimmy.
We heard more screaming that more water was coming we started running through the streets for the mountains trying to wave down cars. We asked a man to take us with him in his pickup truck. We jumped in and more people were running to the truck a Swedish family climbed in and we made a pac to stay in a group with them for safety. We stayed in the mountains with the Swedish family and local Thai people. The Thais gave us water and plastic Baggies full of rice. We stayed there for about three hours and we figured with all of the cobras, spiders and other dangerous wild life that we would walk down to the apartments and stay in an unfinished one that was being built.
We went to the apartment area and met a man named Michael who owns a real estate company (he is an aussie) he gave us and the Swedish family food, water, a place to sleep and let us bath in the pool. At night Michael and a man named Jason took Jimmy back to Kamala Beach Hotel and Resort to search for our luggage (we wanted to find our passports), luckily he found one shoe and three out of four bags with our passport. Some beach chairs got inside the room and wedged the door shut. It was dangerous for them to be there, since people were looting and the worry of after shocks. He said there was a speedboat in the reception area and cars in the pool.
The next day Michael arranged for one of his employees to take us to Phuket City Hall so that we could register with our embassy. From there, Dulwich International College gave us a free room, shower, clothes and food (we are emailing you from here). We have talked to several people and feel that we are the fortunate ones. One injured lady is here with her daughter and they don’t know where the husband is. The flights are full and we are trying to get off the island. Hopefully we can get out tonight or tomorrow. We are so lucky to be alive and that we were able to stay together.
What You Waiting For? - Gwen Stefani - Love. Angel. Music. Baby