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Czech tsunami victim searching for Thais who saved her

BANGKOK: A Czech supermodel severely injured by the 2004 tsunami hopes to find and meet three Thais, one of whom saved her life, when she visits Thailand in early December.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 15 November 2018, 05:51PM

Czech Supermodel Petra Nemcova, 39, who was injured during Dec 26 tsunami 14 years ago, is looking to contact three Thai people, one who saved her life, and hopes to meet them when she arrives in Thailand next month to film a documentary. Photos: Pokchonn Dissayabutra / Facebook

Czech Supermodel Petra Nemcova, 39, who was injured during Dec 26 tsunami 14 years ago, is looking to contact three Thai people, one who saved her life, and hopes to meet them when she arrives in Thailand next month to film a documentary. Photos: Pokchonn Dissayabutra / Facebook

Petra Nemcova’s hope of finding them was posted on Facebook and went viral online.

Facebook user Pokchonn Disssabutra, personal manager of Thai actress Actress Akhamsiri ‘Jakjaan’ Suwanasuk, wrote on her page yesterday (Nov 14) that Nemcova was washed out of her room at a resort in Khao Lak, north of Phuket, when the tsunami struck on Dec 26, 2004 and was extremely fortunate to survive.

Her fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee, was also washed away, but never found.

The 39-year-old model would arrive in Thailand in two weeks for the filming of a documentary about her experience during the deadly tsunami. During the visit, she hoped to see three people in particular.

“The three people are, a Thai man who found her in a palm tree and immediately called people to rescue her, the man who gave her a Buddha amulet while she was in hospital being treated for her injuries, and a girl who was born the day the giant waves struck and was given the name ‘Tsunami’,’’ Ms Pockchonn wrote on her Facebook page.

In the wake of the tsunami, a friend had contacted her and said a supermodel and her fiancé who were holidaying at Khao Lak in Phang Nga province could not be contacted, Ms Pookchonn said. Her friend asked her to help find them, but keep the matter secret.

She had checked at several hospitals and found no trace of them, but then received a phone call saying Ms Nemcova had been found seriously injured, but her boyfriend was never found.

When Ms Nemcova returned to Thailand the following year to pay tribute to her lost fiancé, she had told her the full story.

Ms Nemcova and Atlee were at a beach resort at Khao Lak at the time. He was packing his bag and she was in the bathroom.

There was a loud noise and then waves swept her from the room and into the surging water. Luckily, she was pushed up against a palm tree and held on desperately for her life. Debris caught up in the waves pounded against her, and she suffered broken hip bones and abdominal bleeding, Ms Pookchonn said.

After eight hours stuck up in the tree, a Thai man passing through the area saw her and called people to help her down and take her to hospital in Khao Lak.

Ms Nemcova and 27 other seriously injured victims were later transferred to Songklanagarind Hospital by helicopter.

She had cried a lot and a male patient in the next bed gave her a necklace with a Buddha amulet to boost her spirits. She had worn it ever since and later set up a foundation, Happy Hearts Fund, to help child victims of the tsunami, Ms Pookchonn said.

Late last night, Ms Pockchonn posted an update.

“Now, some people have contacted me and said they may be the man who rescued her and the person who gave her the amulet. We are making further inquiries. Many thanks for sharing my posts and helping find the three people.”


Read original story here.



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