Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 12/22/2011

Tsunami victim reportedly found alive after seven years

Update: The Associated Press confirms the tale: “’When I saw my mother, I knew it was her. I just knew it,’ said Wati, who was given that name by the woman who found her. Her original name is Meri Yuranda.”

Fifteen-year-old Wati, second right, poses for a photograph with her father Yusuf, right, mother Yusniar, left, and younger brother Aris at their home in Meulaboh, Aceh province. (AP)

In 2004, a tsunami devastated Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and eleven other countries, killing more than 216,000 people. The vast majority of those deaths struck Indonesia, which lost an estimated 131,000. Seven years later, though, one of those people may have been found alive.
An Indian woman mourns the death of her relative killed in the tsunami. (Arko Datta/Reuters)

The Thai news site reports that a 15-year-old girl thought to have been killed in the tsunami was reunited with her family Wednesday. The Washington Post cannot independently verify the report, but the Indonesian state news agency that first reported the news said the girl goes by the name Wati and that she made her way back home, only remembering that her grandfather went by the name Ibrahim.

In these satellite images provided by Space Imaging, the Indonesian province of Aceh is shown before the tsunami attack on Jan. 10, 2003, left, and after the tsunami struck Dec. 29, 2004, right. (AP)

She was 8 years old when the tsunami hit her village in West Aceh. Her mother lost her grip on Wati while trying to get to higher ground. Waters swept the girl away and her family assumed she had died. It is not known what happened to the girl in the past seven years.

See video from a year after the tsunami hit Indonesia.

By  |  10:35 AM ET, 12/22/2011

Tags:  World, Indonesia, Tusnami

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company