FIRST HAND ACCOUNT: Lance PowersDuring the days following the disaster I spoke with several people who were either on the beach when the wave hit or injured by its wake. Their stories are horrifying. One man told me that he was sleeping in bed when he heard a loud crashing boom. Within 30 seconds his room was filled with water. In a panic he said he had to smash his window with the TV set to escape his first floor room. His travel mate in the next room wasn't so lucky and when he returned to check on him his body was being removed from the hotel. His friend was only 19, they had been in Thailand only 2 days and had been planning their journey for many months. He had to break the news to his friends' mother that her son drowned to death in a tidal wave the day after Christmas. He was mortified.
Lance is a 30-something Canadian web developer who normally lives in Bangkok - but found himself on one of his island holidays during the tsunami. He has been working in Asia since the late 90s. As he says, "I have been addicted to the party scene well before I arrived here, and since I am prone to landing myself in delicate situations I figured I had better document some of it for posterity and bragging rights."
His website Planet Bangkok is his account of a carefree guy in Thailand - who happened to find himself in the middle of a tsunami:
When it finally hit I saw people completely disappear in the foamy water and many being whisked away at incredible speed towards my hotel. People were mixed in with cars, motorcycles, debris and entire buildings. Everything was thrown around like toys as desperate victims attempted to escape the chaos. I saw a large truck smashing through a hotel lobby. People attempting to outrun the rush of sea were caught by the water and carried away. Everything 500 meters inland from the beach was submeged in 2-3 meters of sandy brown water. Nothing could escape it. I remember thinking that what I was seeing had to be a dream - tidal waves don't happen here.
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