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. IMG

    Seems like a Bollywood movie...happy ending!

    December 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ami Patel

      so true....

      December 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Carolyn k.

    Glory b 2 God wuti was seen,pls dis family glorify God oh cos of wht he is doin.

    December 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • WordUpToo

      I'll be good and leave this one alone....

      December 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JM III

      God doesn't understand twitter like ebonics

      December 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • science rules

      Ouch!

      December 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      First – please proof your posts for some semblance of the english language. Your teachers would cry at the sight of what you wrote.

      Yeah, well for the past few years she was homeless. As a very young child. In those countries that means the kid was likely abused & had to grow up much earlier than she should have had to. Not unlike the long line of abused children in the church (pick a denomination).

      December 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peter Pan

    Wow that is CRAZY!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mlg

    Memory loss is a joke, I have had numerous head injuries, I had 10 ton boom hit me in the head, good concusion. for 2 months couldn't remember anything but I remember everything in that time now. So head injury ruled out. She most likley got water in her lungs, caused lack of oxygen to brain and suffered a head injury, now that might cause amnesia. Might. If the storie is real then good.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Dude she was 8 at the time... Get real.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Paris Hilton

      I'm not sure you escaped unscathed brain-wise, based on your pointless remark. Memory loss is not a joke for many, many people. Your experience, as one person, is meaningless, really. Sample size of one. Just be glad she's been reunited with her family.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig

      Actually there are so many types of head injuries, and the brain is so complex, that your statements make no medical sense. The Fact is that brain injuries and and do cause memory loss, and in many cases the damage is such that the memories can never be recovered. Next time do a bit more research before stating things known to be incorrect.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nitin

    Oh boy! so touching!
    It breaks my heart to think as how much emotional weight the girl and the mother must have carried all these years.
    Call it tenacity or determination! there is no limit to human bonding.
    Now that is a survivor!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Fortune Smiles:
    Oh, yes–that, too.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brad

    Glad this had a happy ending!!!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ma & pa

    Thank you for your service. What a great story. Thank you for the sacrifice of your freedom to help protect us all. We like your story of the little little girl and the man on the beach. You are beloved in words not spoken.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ mig:
    Are you Jim or Philip (PED)?

    December 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Holy Moses! That is a real miracle! SEVEN years! WOW! Amazing!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. iduna

    she been begging and living in the streets since she was 7? Say what? Nobody noticed? That's messed up.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Mi piace LODOLETTA di Mascagni.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andre Linoge

    Amazing. Also amazingly short on details. How did she survive all those years???

    December 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. science rules

    What ya been smokin' mig? Memory loss is not a joke.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. science rules

    A couple of hundred thousand people killed at Christmas time and some refer to this as a miracle.....

    December 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
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