Girl saved tourists thanks to school lesson
Mon Jan 3,12:18 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - A 10-year-old British girl saved 100 other tourists from the Asian tsunami having warned them a giant mass of water was on its way after learning about the phenomenon weeks earlier at school.
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"I was on the beach and the water started to go funny," Tilly Smith told the Sun at the weekend from Phuket, Thailand.
"There were bubbles and the tide went out all of a sudden. I recognised what was happening and had a feeling there was going to be a tsunami. I told mummy."
While other holidaymakers stood and stared as the disappearing waters left boats and fish stranded on the sands, Tilly recognised the danger signs because she had done a school project on giant waves caused by underwater earthquakes.
Quick action by Tilly's mother and Thai hotel staff meant Maikhao beach was quickly cleared, just minutes before a huge wave crashed ashore. The beach was one of the few on the Thai island of Phuket where no-one was killed.
Her teacher, Andrew Kearney, paid tribute to his quick-thinking student.
"Tilly is a very bright, level-headed girl ... it is an incredible coincidence that our class were learning about this type of tsunami just two weeks before Christmas," he told the newspaper.
On Sunday, the Foreign Office said 40 Britons were confirmed dead from the December 26 tsunami which claimed some 130,000 victims. The toll is expected to rise.