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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 14:41 GMT
Elephant dash saved tsunami girl
Amber Mason and Ningnong
Amber Mason and Ningnong were devoted friends
An eight-year-old survivor of the Asian disaster has told how her life was saved by a four-year-old elephant.

Amber Mason, of Milton Keynes, Bucks, was riding Ningnong in the Thai resort of Phuket when the devastating waves struck the beach.

As the wave swept in and with water up to his shoulders, Ningnong dashed out of the waves to the top of the beach, carrying Amber to safety.

Back home, Amber said she felt very lucky that Ningnong had saved her.

She said: "I think Ningnong thought something was wrong and was trying to get off the beach.

"Everyone was running out of the sea and my mum began crying because she thought she'd lost me."

Ningnong's owner, realising that seconds were precious, said he had ordered the elephant to run.

Amber Mason
Amber says she feels lucky to be alive
Amber's mother, Sam, believes Ningnong had been crucial in saving her daughter.

"If she had been on the beach on her own or with us on the beach, she would never have lived. The elephant took the pounding of the wave," she said.

Ningnong is back on the beach and playing in the waves and as a thank you for saving Amber's life, her family have said they will pay to Ningnong's owner 30 a month.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Amber and her elephant saviour reunited



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