"We're looking at the beautiful bay, when all of a sudden everyone is standing up. We couldn't see," recalled Jared Lake, who was vacationing on Phi Phi Island in Thailand.
He was eating breakfast with his girlfriend when they noticed the boats once floating in the water laying on dry land. The water was receding.
"The bay is getting lower and lower and everyone is standing there watching this. No one is, there's no ringing bell as to what's happening," recalled Jared.
What was about to happen was one of the worst natural disasters in history, the asian tsunami. Jared and his girlfriend did all they could to survive, run.
"She's running, I'm running after her saying go go go! But Im still thinking this is some sort of freaky flood, but as I look back the water is right at my feet." Jared ran into a hotel and climbed up the stairs.
"Now the water is climbing up the stairs after me, its climbing the inside of the stairwell. Everyone is climbing the stairs. Everyone is behaving themselves, no one is pushing and shoving," he recalled.
Now the hotel he sought refuge in, only one of two standing after the disaster, has turned into a hospital. "Where before there were people who were dry and uninjured going in with us, now, it's full of injured people. There is blood on the floor."
Jared recounted many stories of heroism. He said the Thai people were very helpful to foreigners getting them off of roofs to safety. He remembered one blonde woman who moved many of the injured bodies to the helicopters. He remembers a young boy, Daniel, separated from his family, lying silent and patient with a split knee and broken leg. He also remembers hearing of a hotel doorman who made sure all the guests were out of their rooms. He did not make it.
Jared is now organizing relief efforts to rebuild Phi Phi Island. If you would like to donate money, you can send it to his daughter at :
33 Acre Lane
Palmyra, VA 22963