13 years ago, most people didn’t know what a tsunami was. Today we all remember the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26, 2004, leaving more than 230.000 people dead, most of them in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
My wife was 16 years old at the time and one of many helping injured people at Krabi Hospital in Krabi Town. Helicopters flew in wounded from Phi Phi Island, and she remembers hearing ambulance sirens all day and night non-stop. The following days she saw dead bodies in huge refrigerated containers and on the open ground for identification.
On the morning of 26 December 2004, Police Boat 813 Buretpadungkit was on patrol, serving as a guard to Prince Poom Jensen, grandson of the king of Thailand, as he was jet skiing in front of La Flora Resort in Khao Lak, where Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya was staying with her son and daughter. Poom Jensen drowned after being struck by the tsunami and the Police Boat was swept inland 2 kilometers. Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya and her daughter survived by fleeing to an upper floor of La Flora. The boat was left where it landed and is now maintained as a memorial.
The police boat is located off the west side of Petchkasem Road in Khao Lak, not far from the intersection with the road leading to La Flora.