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. SAV-MAN

    Touching....but 8 years star?? no iyah, suspect!!!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. forkutoo

    funny how every blog turns into an argument with our keyboards look at all the anger in these blogs not just this one either merry christmas and to all goodnight

    December 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ally

    How wonderful for the family!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. So to sum up

    So to sum up what the trolls are saying, this girl is a liar and a fraud, plus God does not exist. OK, trolls, you can stop now, it's all been said.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Salvador

    wow... this could make a great story - I want to read it!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vermonster

    Quit being a bunch of buttsmudges. Imagine your kid being alone at 8 years old for 7 years in a country that was thrown back to the stoneage!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    @To sum it uo:
    Yep, that's about it.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DSBsky

    wth people? Finish the dam story.. And she lived happily ever after? Her parents left her there? They went home together? what happened? Terrible reporting job..

    December 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nick

    wow....just wow....thats amazing...just in time for christmas is what i would say.....but i know more then likely they are muslim being in indonesia lol

    December 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©


    Love that phrase.
    You don't mind if I file it away for future use, do you?

    December 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vermonster

      Spread the love.

      December 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Monbois

    This is a hear-warming story, but also a sad testimony to the fate of many of the thousands of children orphaned by the tsunami. It's a badge of shame for Indonesia – as well as the multi-billiion-dollar American corporations who exploit the labor there – that these children are living in the street and not even in ramshackle orphanges.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jake

    This by far one of the more touching stories I've read in a long time. Just imagining the scene damn near makes me cry. This is better than Hollywood, it's real life. There is so much beauty in this world and in humans. Its a shame that many simple choose not to see it. Live life, happy holidays!

    December 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GJ

    Great Story.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Meko

    after hearing so much bad things in the news, this really lifted my day.

    December 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    God in action; he makes it possible when everyone else had exhausted their human strength

    December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BinaryTruth

      So who was responsible for the tsunami? All those people dead to prove to the world that god exists because one girl lived.

      December 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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