The Day the Wave Came gives a detailed account of the magnitude and destruction of a tsunami using the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami as its backdrop. Unless you’ve been through one, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like. But that day will be forever carved into the memory of the witnesses: those who saw it first hand, those who hung on to trees, walls, and buildings to save their lives, and those who saw loved ones being swept away by the powerful forces of nature. This film documents the survivor stories from this unforgettable day.
The date is December 26, 2004. A few minutes after 8:00 a.m. 100 km off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, the largest recorded earthquake in 40 years violently shakes the ground. Shock waves travel at 760 km/h and in just a few minutes a gigantic wall of water sweeps over the land, destroying everything in its path, and dragging away thousands of people.
Ironically, a warning had been previously issued by an experienced meteorologist in Thailand. Few believed him and no preventive measures were taken. Authorities were afraid people would panic needlessly and the tourism industry would be affected. Besides, historically, there was little likelihood of a tsunami ever hitting Thailand.
Then shortly after 9:00 a.m. the giant 20 meter wave hits the beaches in Thailand and thousands are dragged into the ocean and caught in whirlwinds. The very thing that had made the place a desirable tourist attraction had now become a death trap. A short while later, the tsunami hits Sri Lanka and the devastation repeats itself.
The exact amount of people who lost their lives will never be known. It has been estimated that at least a million lost their homes and material possessions. Listen to the heart breaking stories of the survivors as they share the pain of hanging on without being able to save the hundreds being hauled away. Feel the sense of powerlessness and the fear of death that still haunts many of them to this day.