Remembering tsunami: One man's agony on Thai beach

AP News
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Posted: Dec 17, 2014 5:16 AM
Remembering tsunami: One man's agony on Thai beach

Some 230,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami set off by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004. A dozen countries were hit, from Indonesia to India to Africa's east coast. Scores of Associated Press journalists covered the disaster, and as the 10th anniversary approached, the AP asked nine of them to describe the images that have stuck with them the most. This is the first of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 25.

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Jerry Harmer, AP's editor for video in Indochina, based in Bangkok, reported on the tsunami from Khao Lak, Thailand:

Forty-eight hours after the tsunami, I was on the beach at Khao Lak, where thousands of holidaymakers and locals died. I recorded rescue workers retrieving the corpses that were still strewn across the sand.

As I followed one squad toward an outcrop of rock, I saw a man's body dangling from a jumble of uprooted trees. A trunk was wedged under his shoulders and his arms were spread across it. He looked as if he'd been crucified.

The image has stayed with me. It seemed extraordinarily emblematic of the suffering that had engulfed the coastline not just of Thailand, but many other countries too.