A KIRKHEATON mum and daughter escaped death by inches after being caught up in the terrifying earthquake and tidal waves which killed thousands in southern Asia.
Sonia Thwaites, 38, and daughter Michaela, 14, were on a fortnight's holiday in Phuket in Thailand with Ms Thwaites' friend Wayne Knapton, 25, of Lowerhouses, when the earthquake hit yesterday morning.
But they managed to escape shaken but unhurt as a huge tidal wave caused by the quake tore through the popular resort.
Food company representative Ms Thwaites said: "I was in bed in the hotel and could feel the bed rocking.
"We all went downstairs for breakfast and asked the manager what was going on and he said it was the wind.
"We went out on to the beach and then it happened.
"The sea seemed to disappear into the sand, it just disappeared, and then the next thing we knew vehicles were being smashed and everything was under water."
The massive quake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale, struck under the sea near Aceh in north Indonesia, and generated a wall of water which sped across thousands of kilometres of sea.
More than 4,200 people have died in Sri Lanka, 1,870 in Indonesia and 1,600 in India.
Ms Thwaites said she lost contact with Mr Knapton as she and her daughter were caught up in the terrifying rush of water.
She said: "We ran into a cafe and ran five flights up a spiral staircase and on to the roof.
"I've never seen anything like it. There was just vehicles everywhere being dragged by the water and there were so many bodies in the water.
"It was terrifying."
She added: "Wayne was swept away but managed to jump on a vehicle and then grab a balcony to stay out of the water.
"It seemed to go on for hours. We are just all very shaken and feel lucky to be alive.
"If we had been standing inches the other way something could have hit us or crushed us.
"We saw people being swept away as they lay on sunbeds."
Ms Thwaites added: "When the waters began to go down we saw some people we knew and got a lift with them and got out of there as fast as we could.
"I'm just scared that it could happen again."
Ms Thwaites' worried father George Wilkinson and son Daniel, 17, were left at home in Huddersfield waiting by the phone for word on her safety.
Mr Wilkinson said: "My grandson rang me up yesterday morning and told me to put on the TV.
"I couldn't help but cry.
"I couldn't get through to the Foreign Office emergency number and it was just a total feeling of helplessness.
"When I got through to Sonia I was overjoyed to find out that everyone was safe."