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Teenager battles rough sea for two days, survives

CAR NICOBAR, DEC. 29. She battled the rough tides of the Bay of Bengal for more than two days and survived in a snake-infested island, hoping to meet her parents again.

But when 13-year-old Meghna was rescued yesterday by some villagers and Army personnel from the island and brought home, her parents were all but snapshots in her imagination.

There was no trace of her two-storeyed house in the officer's enclave at the Car Nicobar Indian Air Force Base; it had been washed away by Sunday's devastating tsunami, just like those of several others.

Meghna, daughter of IAF officer Sanjeev Raghav, drifted in the open sea on a piece of a broken wooden window for more than two days before being washed on to a remote island full of snakes and other reptiles.

However, when she was rescued and brought back here, Meghna still did not know that her father and mother had been killed in the tsunami attack.

Narrating her tale, the IAF Station Commandant, S.B. Bandopadhyay, said that following her rescue, "which is uncommon even in Army parlance, Meghna has been sent to Chennai to help her recover the shock."

Meghna not only braved the danger of drifting in the choppy ocean but also withstood the danger of two nights in an alien environment, surrounded by snakes and reptiles, he said.

Hundreds of others on the island, situated 1,500 km from the mainland and 250 km south of Port Blair, were not so lucky. Most met their grave in the Bay of Bengal after a tremor of 9 on the Richter scale hit the islands followed by the tsunamis.

— UNI

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