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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 December, 2004, 14:25 GMT
Eyewitness: British tourist in Sri Lanka
Balcony with sea surge below
Joe's family escaped the sea surge

Joe Hunt was on holiday with his parents, sister and friends when tsunami hit the coast of Sri Lanka.

Sea water was flooding the pool area.

There was massive commotion outside as we were sitting having breakfast in the dining room of the hotel.

The water then retreated and an estuary to the side of the hotel started to flow quickly, taking oil cans and large branches into the sea.

His calves had been lacerated by imploding glass

The beach touts started shouting and pointing out to sea and we could see the peaks of the big wave in the distance.

We ran back from the sea through the hotel, water was coming in round our feet, crates were floating and banging in to our legs. We were concerned about glass. It was like a scene from the Titanic.

We ran and tried to decide to go back from the sea or up to higher ground. We saw a house with a balcony and ran up there. Guards were carrying an injured boy and one of our party started screaming and crying thinking it was her son. It wasn't.

The child was a French boy or about 14 or 15. His calves had been lacerated by imploding glass at the hotel. He was deathly white. My mother, a nurse, tried to explain to the Sri Lankans with us that he needed to get to hospital but they didn't understand.

People were shouting the names of missing family
We took him to a putput and sent the driver to hospital. I returned to the hotel to try to find his parents. The reception was in chaos. Everyone was crying and totally shocked. People were shouting the names of missing family. I shouted the boy's name and found his parents.

Looting had started and people were defending what was left of their possessions with cricket bats.

We needed to get out but the bridges on either side of the resort had collapsed and we were stranded. Using my fathers business contacts we have managed to make it to Colombo and are waiting for our flight back to the UK tomorrow.

There was an island off the coast of our resort that seems to have broken the force of the waves.

I was lucky that I haven't seen any dead.


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