Back home, the Swedish woman who ran towards the tsunami

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Swedish policewoman who ran towards the oncoming tsunami in an effort to save her family is back home with her children and husband, who also survived.

A Swedish policewoman who ran towards the oncoming tsunami in an effort to save her family is back home with her children and husband, who also survived.

Pictures of Karin Svard, 37, of Skelleftehamn in northern Sweden, running towards the giant wave to save her three children in Krabi, southern Thailand, have been seen around the world.

She told the Swedish newspaper, Expressen, she survived by grabbing a palm tree behind the beach. But when the waves hit, Mrs Svard feared her husband and three children were gone.

"I ran 150 metres out to sea before they started running back." By then they too had seen the wave, she said. "I can remember the white foam, how the surf took them up and they disappeared." When the wave hit her, she said, she thought she would die, but the force pushed her to higher ground, and the palm tree.

Almost miraculously, 10 minutes later she found her family, shaken but alive, clutching each other. Today her three children Anton, 14, Filip, 11, and Victor, 10, are back at school. Many other children across Scandinavia are not.

A week and one day after the waves hit, more than 4,000 Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Fins are still missing, making the Nordic area the worst affected in Europe. In Sweden alone, 60 children have returned unaccompanied and authorities say 2,915 Swedes are still missing.

Some estimates say around half of all those who died in southern Thailand were children.

On New Year's Day, flags flew at half-mast across the Nordic region, and special church services were held to remember the dead, comfort the living and pray for those still missing.

But people in Sweden are clinging to hope. Many find it hard to fathom the scale of what has happened to so many of their fellow citizens.

Ten years ago, more than 500 Swedes died when the passenger ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea. That tragedy has marked the country until now. This time, the number of dead could be more than double that.

Today a list of names of missing Norwegian tourists will be released. In Finland and Denmark such lists have already been published. Swedish authorities do not want to reveal any names yet.

Special flights have brought home all the injured and other tourists who wanted to leave. Flying back are plane-loads of refrigeration containers and coffins.

Comments