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Written By Syafrein Effendiuz on 27/12/04 | Isnin, Disember 27, 2004

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT: ‘Something had happened, only we didn’t know what’

Dec 26:

EYEWITNESS account from Datuk Norazman Aziz (below), managing director of Citibank Malaysia, who was in a car with his family on the Batu Ferringhi road when the wave struck.
"We were heading to town for lunch, and had left the Golden Sands Hotel about 10, 15 minutes before. We were driving up the slope when we saw a crowd by the roadside.

"My first reaction was that it was an accident. We stopped to see if we could help. Then we saw people fishing children and people out of the sea.

"One kid, a boy, probably six years old, had his head covered in blood.

"I could not see any beach. The waves were hitting the embankment, and people were screaming. It must have just happened then, because there were no police, no ambulances.

"People were in shock, and crying and hugging each other.

"I saw wave after wave, very strong (hitting the rocks).

"I could hear my wife on the phone calling the emergency services, telling them something had happened, only we didn’t know what. By the time we got to Tanjung Tokong, people were fleeing the houses by the sea. Cars were submerged.

"Everyone was running helter-skelter.

"When we reached Jalan Gurney, the waves were washing over the road. Now the roads are closed, and we are stranded in town."

Meanwhile, in Phuket, Malaysian tourist Ritchie Ramesh found himself on an extended "holiday".

"Strong waves hit the popular beach resort at Patong Bay yesterday morning, and the town now resembles the aftermath of a major storm.

"I was supposed to leave for Kuala Lumpur at 10am and this happened at 9.15am. There is nothing I can do," he said when contacted by mobile telephone.

"There are boats, jet skis, overturned cars and debris on the streets. There is no electricity and there are no planes. Neither can we rent a car to get to the mainland.

"No one knows what to do next."