Asian Tsunami Heros

Monday, January 10, 2005

saved his wife and children

A BRITISH tourist described yesterday how he had saved his wife and children from the onslaught of the tsunami by tying them like Christmas decorations to the top of a palm tree.
He told of his desperate ploy — using beach towels to hold his loved ones in place — as the first dedicated emergency flight from the disaster zone arrived at Heathrow. Stephen Boulton was celebrating his 34th birthday on the first day of a family holiday in the Maldives when the wave struck on Boxing Day, Boulton, a plumbing and heating engineer originally from Stoke-on-Trent but now living in Balfron, Stirlingshire, helped his wife Ray and their children, Ashley, 12, Euan, 4, and 19-month-old Iona, to stay high up in the branches of the tree. They clung on for five hours. Boulton said yesterday: “We were on the pier when the tide just came in so suddenly and, before we knew it, it was up to our chests. We waded through these horrendous currents to the tree and clambered up with the kids on our backs. The tide rose to around three metres. “I strapped them to the branches with the four towels. Suddenly it was like someone had pulled a plug and the tide just swept out back into the ocean carrying everything, people, sun beds, bungalows. It was awful.”

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