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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 January, 2005, 10:26 GMT
Earthquake brothers 'coping well'
Louis and Theo Barratt Mullan
Louis and Theo Barratt Mullan made a hospital appeal
Two brothers whose parents are missing in Thailand after the tsunami have flown back to the UK and are said to be coping well with their ordeal.

Louis Barratt Mullan, 16, and his brother Theo, 12, were on a Takua Pa beach in when waves hit on Boxing Day.

Their parents, Leonard Barratt, 49, and Catherine Mullan, 53, from Grampound near Truro, Cornwall are presumed dead.

The boys, described as coping "astonishingly well" will live in Nottingham with their grandmother.

The boys' aunt Joy flew to Bangkok to meet Louis and Theo, who have been staying with a family arranged by the British Embassy.

Their uncle, Nick, who was reunited with they boys on Saturday night, told BBC News the family was facing up to the reality that the couple might not be found alive.

Leonard Barratt and Catherine Mullan
Leonard Barratt and Catherine Mullan: Missing

Louis had described the tsunami as "like a giant washing machine" in a telephone call from Thailand to reassure his grandmother he and his brother were alive.

He said: "There is still a slight hope that they might turn up.

"But the second phone call from Louis really made us all think that we had to realistically face the worst case scenario because of the time scale involved and the fact that they were all together on that beach and Theo and Louis were found."

He said: "They seem well physically and they certainly seem to be coping astonishingly well at the moment."

Joy told how they had survived the experience.

She said: "The four of them were on the beach and Len suddenly spotted something, and he just said to the boys, 'Run back to the beach hut and lock yourselves in.'

'Churned' about

She added: "They ran up from the sand but they were overtaken by the wave.

"They were just churned and churned and they were carried for about a kilometre in the water.

"They ended up in two buildings but they didn't know that they were next to each other.

"But by some miracle somebody who knew them found one of them and discovered that the other was next door as well."

She added: "What comes ahead of those boys is just awful and frightening but we just have to deal with that as it comes."

Mrs Mullan works for the Cornwall Enterprise Board and is involved in directing Objective One funding to the county. Mr Barratt works for social services.


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