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03 January 2005

British schoolgirl responsible for nearly halving British tsunami death toll

Reuter's news agency has this story about a 10-yr-old UK girl who, while on holiday in Thailand with her parents, recognised the warning signs of a tsunami and raised an alarm. The girl's mother in turn notified the hotel staff and about 100 British tourists evacuated the private beach, and watched from a safe distance as the tsunami hit the beach moments later. It was the only Thai beach in use by humans with no fatalities. The warning signs of a tsunami (oh, so now you think it's worth knowing!) are that the sea bubbles and gurgles and then the tide rushes out. Judging from this beach crowds experience, you do have time to take cover if you see this phenomenon. (All the adults were, like most of the other humans in the region, gawking in amazement at the retreating tide.) Animals are apparently "wired" instinctively to survive tsunamis because the wild ones had mostly left of their own accord.

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