THE family of a Golcar couple caught up in the tidal wave horror in the Maldives today spoke of their anguish as they waited to hear if the pair had survived.
Jason Clegg, 32, and his 21-year-old fiancee Kelly Chapman ended hours of frantic worry when they emailed family to confirm they were safe, despite their tropical island being hit by the biggest earthquake for 40 years.
The couple, who both work for IT companies, travelled to Kuredu in the Lhaviyani Atol cluster of islands, north of capital Male, where they were planning to spend Christmas and New Year.
But when news of the disaster, which killed more than 20,000 people and devastated countries including Indonesia, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, came through on Boxing Day fears for the couple's safety began to grow.
Mr Clegg's sister Gaynor Bearder, 31, of Banks Drive, Linthwaite, said: "We were all beside ourselves with worry.
"I just thought he was dead and I couldn't get through to the emergency helpline at all. It kept saying it was busy and to call back.
"I must have been trying for seven hours solid but couldn't get through."
Knowing they had travelled with holiday company First Choice she contacted the organisation but was told there was no information. They advised her to call back yesterday morning.
She said: "We just couldn't get to know anything. It was shockingly bad.
"My uncle even rang the police. Everyone was trying to think of anyone who might know.
"I tried to call the island but communications were down. The day just went by in a blur."
Then at 8.30pm her father received an email from the couple confirming they were alive.
Mrs Bearder said: "All it said was that they were all right and had managed to borrow a laptop off somebody.
"So all we know is they are alive but we don't know where they are or what has happened to them.
"We don't know if they have food, passports or anything."
They are now waiting to find out when the couple would be flown home.
* The mum and daughter trapped in the disaster are now safe and well.
Sonia Thwaites, 38, and daughter Michaela, 14 from Kirkheaton were on a fortnight's holiday in Thailand when a massive tidal wave created by the earthquake struck.
The pair ran for safety and managed to get upstairs an on to the roof of a nearby cafe.
Friend Wayne Knapton, 25, of Lowerhouses, was nearly swallowed by the giant waves which hit Phuket but managed to scramble on to a car and then on a balcony out of the wave's reach.
Sonia's worried dad George Wilkinson said he had spoken to his daughter. He added: "She seems fine, obviously she is shocked but she is coping.
"They have all moved into another hotel which is part way up a mountain and they are now away from the main area of danger.
"Wayne went back to their original hotel when the waters receded and managed to get most of their belongings.
"There were bodies strewn everywhere about. In the hotel people had been in the basement when the water hit and they were all unfortunately trapped.
"He said it was a shocking scene."
* A man from Heckmondwike who was due to travel to Sri Lanka to act as a best man has told how the couple's wedding was overtaken by the quake.
Peter Derbyshire had been due to officiate at his friend Paul Senior's beachside wedding on New Year's Eve.
But in text messages from Mr Senior he has been told the island is devastated and the couple are trying to get home.