Maria Belon, a Spanish doctor, and lawyer, and her family spent Christmas 2004 in Khao Lak, Thailand.
Dense tropical trees, and magnificent beaches reaching for miles along the Indian Ocean’s shore – all of this delighted the eye and promised a genuinely heavenly experience.
The sun was shining beautifully, her three sons were splashing around in the pool, and her husband Enrique Alvarez was next in line.
Maria was in a good mood as she sat on a chaise longue, anticipating a relaxing and rejuvenating stay in this resort town.
She first heard a noise that sounded like an engine rumble.
When she raised her head, she beheld a picture that terrified her to death.
A huge wave resembling a solid wall was rushing at them with furious force.
Then everything got mixed up in the wreckage of planks, uprooted trees, floating over the bottom of fishing boats.
Cries for help were heard from everywhere, not even drowned out by the turbulent flow of water.
At some point, Maria lost consciousness, and when she woke up, the first thought that burned her heart was only one: what is happening now with her children, and her husband, are they alive.
Enrique and his two sons, as well as Maria, who was able to save one of their sons, all wound up in the same hospital by chance.
They were fortunate, I must say: only minor scratches and bruises were sustained.
The story of Maria Belon and her family was the inspiration for Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayon’s film “The Impossible.”
Now Maria, as an expert on motivation and advocate for tsunami victims, travels around the world.
She believes that a sense of solidarity in the face of adversity, when each person takes responsibility for the fate of another, always helps to survive such trials that have befallen her.