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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 January, 2005, 18:21 GMT
Mother in photos survived tsunami
Swedish tourist Karin Svaerd runs towards her family and the incoming tsunami on a Thai beach
Swedish tourist Karin Svaerd (right) saw the pictures on her return home
A Swedish tourist who was pictured running into the Asian tsunami to save her family survived the catastrophe, as did her children, it has been revealed.

Newspapers around the world showed a desperate Karin Svaerd heading into the waves as other tourists fled.

On Sunday the 37-year-old policewoman told the press she survived by grabbing hold of a palm tree on the Thai beach.

But it was an agonising 10 minutes before she discovered that her husband and three children had also escaped.

"I can remember the white foam, how the surf took them up and they disappeared," she told Britain's News of the World in an interview published on Sunday.

Swedish tourist Karin Svaerd runs towards her family and the incoming tsunami on a Thai beach
I had to try and save my children, nothing was going to stop me
Karin Svaerd
Witnesses said she screamed: "Oh my God, not my children!"

"I could hear people shouting at me 'Get off the beach' as I ran past them - but I ignored them," she said.

"I had to try and save my children, nothing was going to stop me."

She said she thought she would die as she was engulfed by the tide, but in fact it swept her onto higher ground at the resort of Krabi.

Then she feared for her husband Lars, her sons Anton, 14, Filip, 11, and Viktor, 10, and her brother, Per.

She found them together 10 minutes later.

They flew back to Sweden, arriving on 30 December, and then seeing the pictures in the press, under headlines like: "No one knows if they survived."

"Now, our family is closer than ever before," Mrs Svaerd said.

"We came so close to death that we realise how valuable life is."


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