Imagine that you are vacationing on a beautiful island resort with your spouse and two young children. One child is older than the other but both are quite young. You are having a good time, laughing and splashing in the pool with your smiling offspring as your spouse looks on from the hotel window above. Then, all of a sudden, without warning, a tidal wave crashes toward the pool. You grab your children, but the waves overwhelm you. With all of your strength you fight to stay above, fight to keep a hold of your two precious children. At some point you realize that you don't have the strength to save all three of you. You either have to let one child go or all three sink to the bottom.
What would YOU do?
This is exactly the agonizing choice that Australian mother of two Jillian Searle had to make. She, her husband Brad, and her two sons - Lachie (five) and Blake (20 months) - were enjoying a vacation in the Thai resort island Phuket (pronounced poo-ket) when the terrible, disastrous tsunami hit. They were enjoying breakfast poolside at their hotel and Brad had just went inside to get a diaper for Blake when the huge waves hit.
Jillian grabbed Lachie and Blake and tried to run but she was not fast enough. The waves consumed them and very quickly she found herself in a situation where she had to stay above water, clinging to her children, or they all would die. To make matters worse, Lachie had always feared water and could not swim. It soon became apparent that she did not have the strength to hold onto both children and she had to make a decision: which one of her sons would she have to let go?
She did what I would have done: let the five-year-old go. Despite Lachie's fear of the water, he was the child that had the most chance of surviving on his own. Lachie pleaded and screamed for his mother to keep holding onto him, but in that gut-wrenching moment Jillian just couldn't do it, despite her son's pleadings. Searle did, however, ask another young woman if she would hold Lachie's hand. Meanwhile, husband Brad feels helpless as he watches his family struggle to stay alive. After the first wave was over, he forced open a blocked door with a crowbar to reach them. He reached them just before the second wave struck.
Jillian told Skynet news:
"I knew I had to let go of one of them and I just thought I'd better let go of the one that's the oldest...A lady grabbed hold of him for a moment but she had to let him go because she was going under. And I was screaming, trying to find him, and we thought he was dead."
Indeed, after the second deluge of water had subsided, they found the young woman who was asked to hold onto Lachie and she told them that she had to let him go! After two agonizing hours, though, Lachie was found...alive.
He was found in a hotel room, holding onto a door, his body - up to his ears - covered in mud. But he was safe and relatively unharmed. He was extremely lucky - maybe why a Los Angeles ABC affiliate erroneously said Lachie's name was "Lucky."
Perhaps they weren't idiots over at ABC-7 in LA and Jillian and Brad have renamed him Lucky. Maybe that would be appropriate, considering that a five-year-old who couldn't swim and was deathly afraid of water survived when - after the disaster was over - approximately 3,500 bodies were found along the beaches of Phuket.