A TSUNAMI survivor has told how she cheated death for a second time when her car became submerged in North Yorkshire floodwaters.
Nina Aldrich, who developed multiple sclerosis months after witnessing the 2004 tsunami during a holiday in Phuket, said she did not have the energy to wade through the waist-deep water on a road near Huttons Ambo in Ryedale.
“I thought I was going to drown,” she said. “It was up to the door handles. The car had broken down. I had only one bar on my mobile, but managed to call my husband, Marcus.”
Mr Aldrich said he was in Driffield when he got the call. “She was in absolute panic,” he said. “She was convinced she was going to die.”
He contacted friends in the area, including James Clearey, who rushed to the scene, waded up to his waist to get to the car and then carried Mrs Aldrich to safety.
“He is my hero,” said Mrs Aldrich, 38, of Whitwell-on-the-Hill, whose car was written off in the incident last month.
She spoke of her ordeal as she and her husband prepared to stage a veterans’ rugby match in Malton in a bid to raise £3,000 for the Ryedale branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
She said she was convinced she developed the debilitating condition as a result of the trauma of witnessing the Boxing Day tsunami just over eight years ago.
“I had always been an incredibly fit and active person,” she said. “I went to the gym three times a week and went rollerblading.”
She said she developed strange symptoms in the months after returing home, becoming very tired and losing her balance before multiple sclerosis was eventually diagnosed.
She said she was on holiday in Thailand with her ex-husband when the tsunami struck. “It was horrific,” she said. “We were staying at a five-star hotel on a cliff and we went down to the dining room to find everyone panicking and shouting: ‘Tsunami, Tsunami!’ I didn’t even know what a tsunami was at the time.
“We looked out and the sea had just disappeared. All the boats were stranded on the seabed. Then there was a surge of water towards the land and it just kept on surging and surging.
“Then they said we had to head for the mountains as there was a 60ft wave coming, and I thought we were going to drown.”
She said the wave never came, but the village below her hotel was destroyed by the waters.
She said it was a week before they could get a flight home to Britain.
• The rugby match is being planned for Saturday March 2 at Malton rugby club, followed by a fundraising evening at the Stone Trough pub at Kirkham Abbey. Anyone interested in taking part or wanting to make a donation should email firstname.lastname@example.org