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Against All Odds

A couple of days ago, I blogged about a sequence of images which appeared to show a mother running to her children in the face of certain death from the tsunami on a beach in Thailand. Now the story is out. Yes, it was a mother. Yes, she was running to her children. Yes, the tsunami overtook them. But somehow they managed to survive -- not that I can imagine how. From an article in the Sydney Morning Herald (click the picture for the full-size version):

Hat Rai Lay Beach Revisited

A wrenching series of photos showing a mother dashing into the tsunami in a desperate attempt to save her family was sent around the world last week.

But the family's fate remained unknown until the weekend, when the Swedish mother came forward to say they had all survived.

"I was yelling at them to run, but they couldn't hear me," Karin Svaerd told Sweden's Expressen, describing her desperation as her three sons, brother and brother-in-law snorkelled in the water, unaware of the pending danger.

The three pictures showed confused holidaymakers on Ray Leh Beach in Krabi, Thailand, looking at the water receding before the tsunami hit the beach. Another shot showed swimmers running in to shore once they saw the wall of water approaching.

But Ms Svaerd, unlike everyone else, was running towards the wave to reach her family. Her sons Anton, 14, Filip, 11 and Viktor, 10, could not see the wave. Witnesses heard her scream: "Oh my God, not my children." She told the paper: "I yelled, 'Run, run.'" But her voice was drowned out by the roar of the water. "I got 150 meters out before they started to run. By then they'd also seen the wave."

All were caught in the tsunami and tossed around underwater. But one by one they managed to get to their feet and make it to higher ground. An hour after the first wave hit, the family members, including Ms Svaerd's husband and sister, who were sunbathing on the beach, had managed to locate each other.

"We all survived," Ms Svaerd said. "That feeling is hard to describe."

The original article in Expressen can be found here.


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