February 2, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
Nine tsunami survivors were rescued from Campbell Bay Island in India 38 days after the tsunami disaster. They survived on wild boars and coconuts.
The five men, two women, and two girls, who are members of the local Nicobarese tribe, were rescued by a 12-man police team who were searching for bodies, not survivors.
“They were sitting in the forest when we saw them and they just ran to us, without saying anything,” said Shaukat Hussain, the leader of the police team. “They seemed happy, yes, but there was no hugging and tears and shouting in joy and all that."
The survivors ranged in age from 11 to 65.
Two of the survivors were severely dehydrated; the others were weak and thin, but were in relatively good condition considering the circumstances. They are all receiving medical treatment.
The nine survived because they ran to a hilltop shortly after the tsunami struck and stayed there for several days; but when they came down they started wandering and got lost in the forest.
"They kept walking, they got lost and were wandering in the forest, resting, then walking again," said Hussain. “They traveled from the western side of the island to the eastern side until we saved them…We found them not too far from where we found a dead body and cremated it.”