More European survivors have been arriving home with terrifying tales of lucky escapes from the disaster.
Dazed, tearful or traumatised by what they have seen or experienced, for some it is impossible to paint a bleak enough picture to describe the events of the last few days. One French holidaymaker managed to rescue his family after their van was flooded on a road when the tsunami struck Sri Lanka. He had to dive in the water twice to save his wife, two daughters and then their driver. For anguished family members left behind at home, the worrying and waiting for news made things much worse. The stories of many survivors give an indication of the chaos and confusion that spread as quickly as the waves that engulfed some of the hardest-hit regions. On his return to Stockholm, a young Swedish boy said he was walking on a beach in Thailand when locals started shouting “run for your lives”. European tourists, who fled a dark winter for the sunshine and sands of Asia, make up most of more than 2,200 foreigners killed by the tsunami. Nearly 7,000 others are still missing.