The Tsunami Remembered

Southern Thailand and the islands
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arjay
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The Tsunami Remembered

Post by arjay » December 26, 2006, 12:00 am

Two years ago, I lived in Phuket Town and at exactly this time on the night of the 25th December, I was visiting a discotheque in Patong, after having parked my car on the beach front road in Patong.

At about 1.00am I returned to my car and drove home to Phuket Town.

Around mid morning the next day, (some 9 hours later) my next door Thai neighbour said something to me about not being able to go to the beach today, because of "big waves". Shortly afterwards I picked up the story from the TV. Throughout that day and the next several days, all I heard was the sound of ambulances and emergency vehicles going backwards and forwards to Patong.

Whilst some people went to look as soon as the following day, I felt guilty about going sightseeing and maybe impeding the emergency services, so I waited until wednesday - 3 days later, before driving my motorbike over the mountain, to have a look at the aftermath of the Tsunami. Even then, there were still some people camped out at the side of the road over the mountain to Patong, too scared to return to their homes or accommodation.

I know many stories have been told since, and much TV and video footage seen. I have however posted below some of the photographs I took in Patong some 3 days after the waves struck and in kamala about 2 weeks later.

Now, whilst in the midst of out Xmas festivities, may be an appropriate time to remember all those who died, or indeed are still missing, - I believe in the region of 8500 in Thailand alone.

Patong:

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Kamala:

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Post by shortimer » December 26, 2006, 12:21 am

Thanks for sharing the photo's of yours arjay, while I visited there several months after the wave I was surprised to find little of the destruction evident. One had to look to find it, IE: behind closed construction fences you could barely see gutted and destroyed buildings which had not yet been refurbished. One night while sitting in a beachfront restaurant our waiter produced a photo album from the day after, and sitting right where my table was the hulk of a Thai naval patrol boat was. shocking to say the least.

Guess you had a angel sitting on your shoulder that day, one who guided you home instead of sticking around for the disaster. Once again thanks for sharing.
short time as in short time till I can retire

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Post by Carlos » February 27, 2007, 2:56 pm

I have over 200 photos of the incident - for the week or so prior I got up early, did my excercises/jogged along Patong beach & had a swim to finish off apx 9am.

On Christmas night I stayed out later than usual & decided to have a sleep in, not to get up for the usual morning workout.

As I lay on my bed (alone) on the 26th at about 0900+ I felt it start shaking, the entire building was moving. I got up, went downstairs & saw vehicles rocking as though they were getting pushed from one side, some motorcycles were falling over.

Everyone was walking around looking perplexed to say the least.

I went back upstairs after it stopped & thought I would take a cautious wander up the Soi to see what the beach looked like.

Suddenly all these people came running towards me, with a very loud thunder/whooshing noise right behind them.

They were screaming & then the water hit them, bowling a lot of them over - the water got to me up to my legs but by that time I got back to the secondary main Rd that runs parrallel to the beach Rd.

I went to the other side of the Rd where already many people were lined up, saw the water rushing down the Sois along with much assorted detrius (Sp.?)

I and others assisted some people who were injured, trying to locate medics. It was a total cluster**. No Thais knew what to do, no plan was prepared by the authorites for such an event - nothing. The police were as confused as everyone else. No central C&C, no advice for the tourists..

We made do as best possible to treat the injured, including one older chap from my guesthouse who had been in a beach front shop, one of the dozens that took the full brunt of the waves - he was wandering about in shock (as were many) & had a badly cut arm & wrist which we managed to control the bleeding and get him on one of the pickups that was driving through the slowly receding water/river? that was flowing along the street. The pickups were all going to whatever hospital they could. Many were loaded up with bodies.

Fish could be seen in the gutters (yes the Thais were catching them) and I took pics of this too.

Sirens everywhere, a huey chopper was overhead as well adding to the din.

There was a near panick mainly from the thais who seemed to believe that yet another, far bigger, wave was approaching & we should all get to higher ground (tough to go anywhere unless you had a 4wd) so most just waited until the water on the Rd went down lower & walked/rode away from the area.

I asked at my guesthouse where we should go - the manager says she just spoke to her monk in BKK and he said don't worry there won't be anymore waves!! That sentence from her has stuck in my memory..seems he was right but at the time I felt like telling her what to do with her monk. I didn't follow that train of thought so decided to get to higher ground..

I had a 5ltr water bottle in my room, so got that, some food & clothes & rode the motorbike up to the highest point between Patong & Karon beaches.

There were large crowds already there, many had been there for a while in the sun - I passed around the water to them (many hotel staff there too) & watched the ocean over the Karon way still receding. A huge sand island appeared in the bay.

I thought well if the water comes again & gets this high that's it, **** it.

After an hr or 2 & still no idea what was going on especially down near Patong & Karon I rode back down there & saw the devastation for myself.

I have seen lots of death & misery in my life but the scene that lay before me was on another totally different level.

I took the pics, from one end of the beach to the other.

The day went by in a blur, got up very early the next day & again took more pics.

This is the first time I have written about it.

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Post by Nobby » February 27, 2007, 6:09 pm

Your story of events folks brings back some sad :( and some good :D momories i have of the event. I arrived in Patong on the 24th Dec with friends. The morning of the 26th quickey became a complete disaster area and as you guys have adequately described some of the events that followed by way of photos and writing, I would just like to mention I with the same friends returned one year later to see the memorial sevice to the people who never returned to their loved ones and which was attended by the Kings Daughter.
On one final note from me, it is lovely to see the town back in full swing which is due to the hard work put in by people.

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Re: The Tsunami Remembered

Post by beer monkey » October 6, 2009, 4:21 pm

I thought seenmore was sailing type of man.. IE: in a yacht, and that he rode out the waves and came out in one piece with his vessel....could be wrong i suppose but i am sure he mentioned it before.

any 'up to date' photos available for viewing..ones taken of the same places.

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Re: The Tsunami Remembered

Post by arjay » October 6, 2009, 4:50 pm

I maybe wrong then. I recollect he did say a yacht. That was the only boat I saw on the beach at that time (2 or 3 days later).

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Re: The Tsunami Remembered

Post by seymourbutts » October 6, 2009, 9:18 pm

No mine was a yacht, but thanks anyway.,.
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Re: The Tsunami Remembered

Post by seymourbutts » October 6, 2009, 9:34 pm

that boat in the first pic was over 50 ft and weighed in at over 35 tons, all wood and very very strong... i watched that and another boat even bigger but modern glass fibre hull... it didnt fair so well!! it was just rolling over and over until a piece of a hull and the engine were left on the beach!!!! its was a half a million dollar boat!!! insured i believe, unlike mine!!!! also a fishing boat decvided to make its way up the beach almost to the road!! again wood and very strong..

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arjay
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Re: The Tsunami Remembered

Post by arjay » October 6, 2009, 10:32 pm

Apologies. :oops: I've removed my erroneous photos.

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