2004 tsunami: People rushing choppers to get aid

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2014 10:53 PM
2004 tsunami: People rushing choppers to get aid

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 10 of them to describe the images that have stuck with them the most. This is the seventh of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 26.

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Hrvoje Hranjski, a writer and editor based in Bangkok, covered the disaster from Aceh, Indonesia:

I was embedded on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and was on a Seahawk helicopter that picked up boxes of food, blankets and water from Aceh town. From there, we flew high up along the lush green mountaintops flanking the coast of Aceh, and suddenly descended into a small village that had been hammered by the waves.

There, people waved their hands and used flags to indicate they needed help. As soon as we touched down, chaos erupted. Some of the villagers rushed the aircraft. The sailors on the chopper were very nervous that someone would get hurt. They were quickly pushing out those boxes and crates with water. People would snap them up.

Later, after we returned to the ship, we were told that an Indonesian soldier fired a gun in the air to control the crowd and narrowly missed the rotor.