Tacoma native Emily Drury was vacationing with her family in Thailand when the tsunami hit there. This is an excerpt from an e-mail provided by friends and published with her permission.
Tacoma native Emily Drury, 24, has been teaching kindergarten at a school in Shanghai, China for the past six months. She was vacationing with her parents, Steven and Vicky Drury of Tacoma, and sister Alice, a 18-year-old freshman at the University of Washington, in Phuket, Thailand when the tsunami hit there. This is an excerpt from an e-mail provided by friends and published with her permission.
The day after Christmas my sister Alice and I were calmly waiting in the lobby of our hotel when we noticed a lot of people running. At first we thought they were running to look at something, but soon it became apparent that they were running from a tidal wave.
Alice and I literally ran for our lives. We tried hanging on to each other, but the current of the water was to strong I soon lost both flip flops and my purse. I then jumped into the back of a pickup that was being washed away. The truck got caught around a tree, and I jumped out or would have been pulled under with the truck.
The last I saw of Alice she was struggling in the rising water and I was screaming for her.
At one point as I was grabbing at tree branches and whatever I could. I went under some bamboo and knew that I was drowning. But I scrambled up and eventually was able to grab onto a tree. Then debris was coming up around the tree, and I knew a broken leg or ankle was not a good idea, so I struggled to keep my feet on top of the debris.
No real rational thoughts were going through my head; just that I could not believe what was happening.
When the water calmed down I was holding on to the tree for dear life and noticed that my arms and legs were badly scratched, but I was alive and nothing was broken, minus one contact lens. Over to my left and I saw two feet sticking up from the debris. I think those feet will haunt me for a long time. A young girl behind me was missing her bikini bottoms, which had been torn off by the current. I pulled mine off from under my skirt and gave them to her. I made it out to the main road with a woman from Finland. I wanted to wade back to the hotel, but did not know if another wave would hit or if I would be swept to sea. The woman and I found a badly injured man and some kind Thai people put us into the back of a pickup that took us to a local hospital.
At the hospital it was complete chaos; bloody floors, people with open wounds, children crying for parents, people crying in pain. I laid down and prayed. I was hopeful that my family was alive because I saw Alice in the water and I knew she was strong. My parents were on the second floor of the hotel and not affected by the wave.
After about two hours my father walked into the hospital. He had lost his glasses and was blind as a bat. He held me and cried. He had left Alice and Mom behind and had come looking for me. At that point Mom and Alice thought I was dead; there was no way I could have survived that wave.
Dad and I spent the day helping other people and spent the night on the lawn of the hospital.
We met a boy from Utah who had lost his entire family. There were also young children who where there without parents. Our family was extremely blessed. Mom joined us the next day. She learned I was alive after meeting the girl I had given my swimsuit bottoms to at another hospital. Needless to say we are all shaken and scared.