Thailand Teen Who Escaped Tsunami Dies
Wed Aug 24,10:43 AM ET

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - A 13-year-old girl who escaped the deadly tsunami that struck her seaside village in southern Thailand in December has died while waiting for a heart transplant, her father said Wednesday.

As the killer wave approached, Athitaya Onsuwan ran more than a mile up a nearby mountainside but collapsed in a state of shock, and had been hospitalized, unable to stand, since then. She died late Tuesday, said her father, Manas Onsuwan.

"She told me, 'I can't hold on any longer,' and I told her, 'Try to hold out a little bit longer because you're going to get surgery in Bangkok soon,'" Manas said by telephone. "I was in shock last night."

Athitaya and other family members spent three nights on the mountain after the tsunami hit. When her father took her to a hospital, doctors coping with crowds of patients didn't admit her and only gave her some pills. She went to a private clinic three days later.

The family lives in the Taimuang district of Phang-nga, the Thai province worst hit by the Dec. 26 tsunami where nearly 80 percent of the disaster's 5,400 victims in Thailand died.

Boonchob Phongpanich, a heart specialist who examined the patient, said Athitaya had been suffering from dysfunction of the heart muscles and kidney problems and needed a heart transplant.