TSUNAMI - 11 January 2005
Those that heard the rumble of water rang the radio stations in panic. They had lived all their lives in the area, but they knew this earthquake was a bad one. The ground shook for a long time but few people realised what was to come and how the aftermath of an earthquake in the Indian Ocean would affect their lives. This was the only warning. As the sun began to climb into a cloudless sky over Indonesia. It was early morning when the first gigantic wall of water hit.
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Elephant Ningnong saves tsunami girl
An eight-year-old survivor of the Asian disaster has tells how her life was saved by a four-year-old elephant.
Amber Mason, of Milton Keynes, Bucks, was riding Ningnong in the Thai resort of Phuket when the devastating waves struck the beach. As the wave swept in and with water up to his shoulders, Ningnong dashed out of the waves to the top of the beach, carrying Amber to safety.
Back home, Amber said she felt very lucky that Ningnong had saved her. She said: "I think Ningnong thought something was wrong and was trying to get off the beach. "Everyone was running out of the sea and my mum began crying because she thought she'd lost me." Ningnong's owner, realising that seconds were precious, said he had ordered the elephant to run.
Amber's mother, Sam, believes Ningnong had been crucial in saving her daughter. "If she had been on the beach on her own or with us on the beach, she would never have lived. The elephant took the pounding of the wave," she said. Ningnong is back on the beach and playing in the waves and as a thank you for saving Amber's life, her family have said they will pay to Ningnong's owner £30 a month.
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