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. Stu Pid

    OBAMA:
    One Big Ass Mistake America

    December 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melle

      You're ignorant. Take your stupidity elsewhere.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • filtered

      What does your comment have to do with this story? Weren't enough hateful comments for you or something?

      December 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sasha

      what does this have to do with Obama?

      December 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fortune Smiles

      You being born was your mamma's mistake.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      Verbal diarrhea?

      December 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fearlessdude

    I can just imagine the incredible joy all around. Wow.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ryan patrick

    How did an 8 year old not remember her parents names? Or anything?

    At 8 years old, I knew my parents names, my sibling's name, my home address, phone number, all my relatives, and etc. I knew the name of the town I lived in and the name of my school. I don't understand how an 8 year old wouldn't know those things? Did she get whacked on the head a couple times or what?

    December 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • skyler

      ha, yeah. definitely a question mark there.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      It's been covered. Might want to read previous comments.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      For such a smartypants at 8 yrs old, you really are an unimaginative a . ss.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrBo

      She was swept by the freaking tsunami, you ding dong. That's not exactly floating along the lazy river at a water park. Figure it out!

      December 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • IxNay

      Oh, I don't know, maybe it has something to do wth the stress of having been swept away by a giant wave, of having lost your home, of thinking that your whole family is dead and all of this happening when you are just 8 years old.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Did you also live in a third world country in a village with no named roads, schools, or structured government?

      Moron.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seth

      Let's think about it. She was 8 when she was swept away by a tsunami and probably tossed around in a fairly violent manner. After recovering from such trauma, she could of been struck with a rigorous case of amnesia. And then, she wondered through Indonesia alone for 7 years with zero contact wit anyone she knew. So, hmmmmm, yeah, how did she ever forget such details?

      December 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thizz

      Indonesia. thats your answer right there

      December 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yup

    STI PID is right

    December 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. skyler

    I want to know more about what happened during those seven years! good story

    December 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Debi

    What a wonderful Christmas miracle.. so happy for that family.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Except that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world...so they probaby don't celebrate Christmas.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fortune Smiles

      What....like the Christmas miracle that killed hundreds of thousands seven years prior? Did you check your brain at the door when you signed up for religion?

      December 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boytjie

      And the tsunami happened December 26... does that make it a Christmas disaster?

      December 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ mary:
    Would it matter what this girl had to do to survive for the past seven years?
    She is alive now.
    She has the opportunity to start life on a different path.
    I see that as a cause for rejoicing, even if the girl's story is not true.
    It is an affirmation of the survival instinct. That is enough for me.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PACO128

    what a wonderful miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MrBo

    Amazing.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bezerkur

    A bittersweet story.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOMBO

    I suspect Mary is right. But if she is strong enough to survive, she'll get past it.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JustSaying

    Yea, Sheila is ..what can I say... a bit jaded, cautious, and must be a single.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. IxNay

    really, this is miraculous. Who cannot remember hearing the news of the tsunami in Indonesia. The news itself was tsunami like. At first there was a report, and then the news just got more and more devastating. Eventually, it was overwhelming. This is just such wonderful news and has given me goose bumps on top of chills.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    The world needs more miracles like this. What a great way for the family to bring in the New Year.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ BOMBO:
    I hope that you're not suggesting that I not write anything requiring thought.
    I learn from you.
    I prize knowledge. I wish that more humans did: I'd make a lot more money if most USA citizens still liked classical music.
    I'm grateful that my elementary school teachers shared pagan gods and holidays with our class.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fortune Smiles

      I'm happy I met some deep thinkers in my school system and some solid people with a SCIENTIFIC background that understood geography, geology, physics, biology and astronomy. Thank you all my teachers.

      December 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13