Survivor's proposal accepted by volunteer doctor who treated him

Story by ACHADTAYA CHUENNIRAN and REUTERS



In the chaos after the 2004 tsunami, a volunteer Israeli doctor and a badly injured survivor fell in love. A year later, Israeli engineer Ron Bombiger held Dr Dorit Nitzan's hand and proposed to her yesterday in the Phuket hospital room where they first met.

``Dori, in front of all these people, will you marry me?'' asked Mr Bombiger, 49, as beaming nurses looked on in the room adorned with red roses and petals on the bed in the shape of a heart.

She whispered in his ear, they kissed and exchanged engagement rings to loud cheers and applause.

Mr Bombiger narrowly escaped the killer waves which struck the Kamala beach hotel he was staying in on Dec 26 last year. His leg was seriously injured and he was admitted to Bangkok-Phuket Hospital, where he met Dr Nitzan, 48, in room 432 two days later.

Over the next few weeks, as Mr Bombiger recovered from a series of operations on his right thigh, Dr Nitzan visited him frequently in room 432.

By an amazing coincidence they discovered they grew up in the same small town and went to the same school, and their childhood homes were only a few blocks apart.

After he was discharged from the hospital, Mr Bombiger returned to Israel to visit his family in April this year. He met Dr Nitzan again at a coffee shop in Tel Aviv and their friendship flourished into romance.

``We call it the `wave of love','' Mr Bombiger said of the tragedy that brought them together. ``This wave came in and I found this girl I love and want to spend the rest of my life with.''



The two Israelis yesterday returned to Bangkok-Phuket Hospital. Mr Bombiger wanted to propose marriage in room 432, the place they first met.

Their wedding is planned over the coming months. Mr Bombiger said they would then holiday in Thailand, and joked they just might honeymoon in room 432.

Dr Nitzan has been posted to Belgrade by the WHO and they plan to move there.