Mrs. Chansouk Souvannavong of Springfield, Virginia, was vacationing on Thailand’s Phi Phi Island with her son when the tsunami attacked. She was walking on the beach when she heard something that sounded like a gunfire and then somebody yelling "Run, run." Without thinking or looking around, she ran for her life to the second floor of the party hall of a hotel and from there she saw, to her horror, the giant waves take the lives of a mother and daughter.
She herself was separated from her son, who went rock-climbing and also survived. The two were re-united in Phouket the next day.
Listen to our Overseas Lao report for details of Mrs. Chansouk's near-death experience.