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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 14:54 GMT
Tsunami death mother saved child
Waves smash into Sri Lanka
Waves smashed into Sri Lanka with no warning after the earthquake
A woman died after saving her child from the Asian tsunami by breaking a bathroom window to push her through.

The window of the Sri Lankan hotel was big enough for the 11-year-old girl but too small for June Abeyratne, 48, from Kingswood, Surrey, to fit through.

Her Sri Lankan husband, who was out when the wave struck, returned to find his daughter sheltering in a tree.

Mrs Abeyratne, who wanted to open an orphanage in Sri Lanka, was on holiday with her family when the wave hit.

Her husband, Viraj, who had gone out early, returned to find the hotel complex completely submerged in water.

She wanted to put something back into life
Dennis Singh

"My wife selflessly ensured her daughter had a chance of survival even though she herself could not escape," he said.

"We were staying in the first room on the beach, and they were asleep when the water started coming in and they could not open the door.

"My wife took Alexandra to the bathroom and smashed the window and put her out."

'Remarkable woman'

Mrs Abeyratne was the managing director of Little Acorns, a children's model agency in south London.

A family friend, Dennis Singh, confirmed on Tuesday that her body had been found last week.

He said: "You would be lucky to meet somebody like June once in a lifetime. She was a remarkable woman.

"Nobody can really believe she has actually gone. Her first concern was her daughter.

"She wanted to open an orphanage in Sri Lanka, she was very excited about going in the next year or so.

"She said she wanted to put something back into life."

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