Asian Tsunami Heros

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The unknown hero


The quick action of an unknown Caucasian man saved the lives of nearly 200 people at Teluk Bahang beach in Penang last Sunday.
At the approach of the tsunami, the middle-aged man, believed to be a Briton, ran up and down the beach, shouting in English-accented Malay Keluar! Keluar! ("Get out! Get out!").

After warning the people in the water, the man ran to some youths who were sitting on the rocks by the sea and shouted Keluar! Keluar! again. "Except for a few people in the water, who ignored his warnings, we all ran up the steep slope up to the road, to safety," said Ahmad Hisham Omar. "That man saved a lot of lives."

Hisham, a school teacher from Tanjung Malim in Perak, was at the beach with his wife, Norli Mansor, son Ahmad Hadif, four, daughter Nuradani, two, and relatives, Aliah Mohd Yusoff and Ahmad Man at 12.20pm. "There was a white light in the horizon, which turned out to be the wave. It was very beautiful. We all looked at it for quite a while," Hisham said.

Despite the fact that the beach was very quiet, and there was no breeze, they did not think anything amiss. It was a good hour later before the Caucasian man started shouting. "My daughter was very scared, so I scooped her up. I grabbed my son and wife, and with my aunt in front of us and uncle behind, we ran for higher ground." Describing their saviour, Hisham said the Caucasian man was aged between 50 and 60 "but looked very fit".

"I hope to meet the man to thank him. He saved our lives."


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