If the sea retreats and vanishes, run like hell (2004 Thai tsunami video)

I’d never seen this particular video of the horrible Thai “Boxing Day” tsunami of 2004 (I can’t believe it’s been that long).


It’s not a particularly nasty video, don’t worry. But what’s interesting is that it shows the scene BEFORE all the damage. It shows how everything was normal, tourists and Thai people alike playing on the beach, when suddenly the tide went out and left boats on dry land. No one knew what was going on. That, the experts say, should have been the warning sign that caused people to flee. And that’s why I’m posting this – it’s a good lesson for people to learn, that if the tide goes out bizarrely, and unexpectedly, run like hell.

According to Wikipedia, tsunamis are not always preceded by the tide going out. But in this case it was, and apparently in several instances, people understood what was going on – including in one case, a ten year old British girl who had learned about tsunamis in school, and then warned everyone – and a lot of people were saved as a result:

One of the few coastal areas to evacuate ahead of the tsunami was on the Indonesian island of Simeulue, very close to the epicentre. Island folklore recounted an earthquake and tsunami in 1907, and the islanders fled to inland hills after the initial shaking yet before the tsunami struck.[46] On Maikhao beach in northern Phuket, Thailand, a 10-year-old British tourist named Tilly Smith had studied tsunami in geography at school and recognised the warning signs of the receding ocean and frothing bubbles. She and her parents warned others on the beach, which was evacuated safely.[47] John Chroston, a biology teacher from Scotland, also recognised the signs at Kamala Bay north of Phuket, taking a busload of vacationers and locals to safety on higher ground.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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