Report: Girl thought to be swept away during tsunami found alive
An aerial photo from January 2005 shows destroyed houses in Meluaboh, in West Aceh, Indonesia.
December 22nd, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Report: Girl thought to be swept away during tsunami found alive

An 8-year-old girl who was swept away from her mother's arms during the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia has been found alive and reunited with her parents, according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara.

The girl, who was identified by state news only as Wati, now 15, was reportedly discovered nearly seven years after the tsunami devastated the coastlines of Asia.

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of between 9.1 to 9.3 strikes the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, and triggered a deadly tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Wati was in the village of Ujong Baroh when flood waters came crashing in.

"Her mother, Yusniar, was trying to take her and her two siblings to a safe place, but somehow she lost her grip on her mother's arm and was carried away by the rushing waters, leaving her mother powerless to help her," the state news agency said. "Yusniar was able to save her two other children, but she and the rest of the family eventually had to resign themselves to the notion that Wati was lost as she never returned nor had anybody in the neighborhood seen her again dead or alive."

The now teenage Wati was spotted in a coffee shop near her home in West Aceh, Indonesia.

She said that "she had come [there] by bus from Banda Aceh and was trying to find her way back home but did not know how. She also could not remember any of her parents' or relatives' names except Ibrahim," according to Antara.

She was sitting in silence in the coffee shop, assumed to be a beggar, the news agency reported.

Later that day, Wati and someone she met showed up at a man's house.

His name? Ibrahim.

"After listening to the acquaintances account, Ibrahim immediately sensed the girl could be his long-lost grandchild and, after a closer look at the dark-skinned girl, was indeed convinced she was Wati who went missing in the tsunami seven years ago," the news agency reported.

Ibrahim called her parents to immediately come meet her, according to the agency, and the parents confirmed it was their daughter because of a small mole and scar that she had as a child.

Antara said they were told no other details about what happened to the girl when she was swept away other than she had been in several areas throughout Indonesia's Aceh province after the tsunami.

soundoff (431 Responses)
  1. shanti

    Sweet. :)

    December 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. KenC

    WAY COOL!

    December 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. nepawoods

    They can all thank God for bringing the girl back alive. Of course, they can also ask him why the #@&% it took so long.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • HammerDoc

      You know, nepa . . . some people would gripe if they were hung with a NEW rope. Others would gripe if they got a FREE 4-star meal–because it wasn't 5-star.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      and why he killed 200,000 of their neighbors/friends/family ...

      December 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrBachmanis_in_the_closet

      Well put...All the jebus followers will say how this was gawds work and how wonderful he/she is all the while never mentioning that fact that he/she could have prevented the disaster in the first place.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFWilder

      I'm pretty sure they'll be thanking Buddha. Social moron.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ma & pa

    We are thankful for your comment, Andera M, about chunks of childhood gone. Naturally occurring memory loss can be caused by brain injury from blows or be a way the mind protects us from knowledge of deathly betrayls of trust committed upon our innocent gentle person. There is also electric and suger shock, and drugs and hypnotic drugs and hypnosis used by controllers to make us,when under the effects of these, submit and perform and then forget it all so we can't know to hold them accountable. Everyone in the universe needs to know this for their own protection and compre hension. We are thankful a child was found and accepted by her people who were glad the had her. Some little children only know their mothers name is "mama" and their world is their neighborhood, their house and their ma in it. Not much info to get home on. And parents suffer memory loss too. Merry Christmas from mama.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. My Name is... Not Mike

    I smell a movie!

    December 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. abI`

    Events like this prove that god is still there.. I m very happy for the Wati and her Family...

    December 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jim

      Right! After all, who else could cause such devastation and kill so many people so quickly? Praise his holy name !!!!!!!

      December 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Events like this prove random occurances sometimes have favorable outcomes. What would prove God exists is if all 200,000 people rose from the grave.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      Let's see, I think the answer that is HUMANS! But ,you blame whomever you want. Drive your SUV to work and keep your heat turned up all winter, while we continue to suck oil out of the earth leaving massive voids inside our planet. Global warmin, Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions must be blamed on someone other than ourselves. It's a feel good story (lacking much detail) and all you have to say is something snide.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HammerDoc

    Thanks be to God!

    December 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • OK Smart One

      Yeah, because "God" would choose to "bless" this one person when he allowed a tsunami to kill hundreds of thousands of other people. Do you see how stupid that is?

      December 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • FSM

      Thanks be to god? Really? What about the other estimated 200,000 people the tsunami killed? If we are to really give god thanks for this one girl, you must also thank him for killing the others as well. What an awesome god you have there...

      December 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. justtheoracle

    What a joyful story!!

    December 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. McJesus

    Yes. God had everything to do with finding the girl and nothing to do with the tsunami that got the girl lost in the first place. Makes perfect sense.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • JFWilder

      Yep...especially in an area not known to be overly Christian. But maybe God thew the tsunami their way as punishment...or just because he's a jerk.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFWilder

      Yep...especially in an area not known to be overly Christian. But maybe God threw the tsunami their way as punishment...or just because he's a jerk.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Colleen

    Coolbeans

    December 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sarah

    The story sounds very confusing to me, so I must recommend a DNA test to both the girl and the parents.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr Sarcasm

      I'm sure they'll get right on that Sarah, just because you told them to.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dee2118

      Sarah, if you find it confusing that I'll bet if you were in any kind of situation, you wouldn't be able to find your way home.
      When I was 7 years old and nothing traumatic happened to me except that I got separated from my friends. I was new in the neighborhood and we had taken a walk. I could not find my way home. I started to cry and an adult came up to me and told me that I lived right across the street from where I was standing. I was lost and nothing traumatic happened, so you can imagine how that little girl felt.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David Schreiber

    I was there in Thailand and was personally caught in the wave. Afterwards while at the hospital with my wife and our friend, I handed our cell phone from one person to another as they called home to tell loved ones they had lost a child or family member. My only wish was that just one of them would be wrong and that their loved one was perhaps at another hospital. Having lived through this I can very easily see how this happened. There was so much attention was placed on finding relatives of the western children that were seperated, very little was focussed on the local populations. What a great New Years gift to this family. For those who commentented that they could not understand how this happened I would encourage you to get out and travel more and if you can not aford that read more about other parts of the world. May we all recieve and give such wonderful gifts this Holiday.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • OK Smart One

      How did you like that "gift" in the form of a tsunami? Wouldn't it have been a gift if it never happened in the first place?

      December 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Q

      wisely stated, thanks

      December 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • DK

      He wasn't saying the Tsunami was a gift, he said the sotry about the parents finding their child after so many years was a gift. Duh

      December 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Taxman

    Praise be to Allah

    December 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • OK Smart One

      For what? Sending a tsunami in the first place? Or do you think God would save just this one person when he allowed so many others to die?

      December 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mmmm

      wasnt him... it was G-d!!

      December 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LuLu A.

    Why don't people use apostrophes anymore? What acquaintance? Or was it more than one? I don't know because the writer didn't use an apostrophe. Who was the girl with? Did I miss something? We need editors and proofreaders on the Internet or our language will devolve into idiocy.

    December 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • FSM

      Since you bring up apostrophes, do not forget commas. You are missing a couple.

      December 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aklimar

    Finally ... an article about a positive, happy event. Why is stuff like this so hard to come by?!

    December 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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