Saturday, June 18, 2005

SURVIVOR: Naomi Bowman


Naomi Bowman was another survivor. Her story originally was posted on But Naomi has requested her story be withdrawn. In her original posting, Naomi started out by describing her day, "26th December was another beautiful sunny day and at about 10.20am I was on charlie beach on Koh PhiPhi island, reading a book with my headphones on when I looked round to see a few people running and shouting. Looking out to sea I saw in the distance about an inch high of dark brown water travelling towards the beach. I thought that the tide was coming in, although it wasn’t slowing down and was obviously the wrong colour."

"By the time I stood up with my bag the water was already past my feet. I started running but it was knee height now and so fast it knocked over a woman running ahead of me. Holding onto a palm tree to stop myself falling, I looked out into the waves, now thinking it must be some kind of tropical storm. I was really frightened, dropped everything and ran again. A few seconds later waves smashed into my back and took me under the water. For the first time the word tsunami came into my head."

She goes on to talk about what it felt like to be in a tsunami.

In March, 2005, the Oxford Mail online newspaper reported that Naomi was marrying her hospital attendant. The article said, "An Oxford university student is leaving behind ambitions of becoming a City banker to marry a Thai man who helped her cling to life after the Asian tsunami. Naomi Bowman, 21, was swept off the beach on the island of Koh Phi Phi, sustaining a large gash to her body, two broken ribs and extensive cuts to her head and thighs. She was operated on six times under general anaesthetic after the Boxing Day tragedy which claimed around 300,000 lives in countries around the Indian Ocean. She still struggles to walk. But her harrowing experiences in Thailand have not dissuaded her from returning - for love is pulling her back. Now Naomi, a maths undergraduate, has decided to scrap her high-flying career dreams and spend the rest of her life with 30-year-old Theep Janthamanee, a rock climbing teacher whom she had befriended before the disaster. After searching for Naomi for three days, Theep found her in a crowded hospital, she told the Mail on Sunday. "Because of a lack of medical staff, he fed me, dressed my wounds, helped me to walk and move again and even changed my bed pans," she said. "At night when I could not sleep he lay by my side and comforted me. "Now I want to spend the rest of my life with Theep. If it were not for him, I might not be here. He is so caring and compassionate, so wonderful and careful; I just fell in love with him."

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