Published December 28, 2004
BANGKOK, Thailand – A blond two-year-old found sitting alone on a road in Thailand who was taken to a hospital was reunited with his uncle, who saw the boy's picture on the hospital's Web site.
Dozens of parents desperate to find their own missing children after massive tidal waves battered southern Thailand had visited the hospital in hopes that Hannes Bergstroem (search) was their child.
A man who identified himself only as Jim said Tuesday that the child was his nephew.
"When I saw Hannes on the Internet, I booked an air ticket to come here in less than five hours," said a man who identified himself only as Jim. "This is a miracle, the biggest thing that could happen."
Jim arrived at Phuket International Hospital (search) from Chonburi late Monday night from the city of Chonburi.
He said five relatives from Goteborg, Sweden, were on a monthlong vacation in Thailand when the waters struck. Hannes' mother and grandmother were missing; his father and grandfather were in another hospital, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported.
Hospital staff and The Phuket Gazette put pictures of Hannes — whose cheeks are dotted red from mosquito bites — on the hospital Web site. The staff said he was found by tourists sitting on a road not far from the town of Khao Lak.
"He looked bleak when he arrived at the hospital on Sunday night with some surface wounds on his face and body," said Vilad Mumbansao, a hospital staff member.
The boy babbled but the staff couldn't make out the language he was speaking. They thought he could be Swedish "because he was enthusiastic when a man spoke Swedish to him," said Vilad.
The boy had seemed sad on Monday.
"The baby looked today as if he began thinking of his parents," Vilad said.
Hospital officials said Tuesday they also were looking for Norbert and Edeltraud Michl, parents of a 10-year-old German girl, Sophia Michl (search), who they were caring for. She has cuts and bruises on her face.
It's feared that many children may have become orphans because of the disaster.
"I saw many children perish. I saw parents trying to hold on to them but it was impossible," said Karl Kalteka, of Munich, Germany, who was on the beach in Khao Lak at the Sofitel hotel when the waves hit. He lost his girlfriend in the disaster.
"It was hell," Kalteka said while on a stretcher at Phuket airport with multiple wounds.
Rose Ehret, a Singaporean helping French victims, said she was caring for children who had lost their parents. She also said there were parents who lost children, and parents or children who were missing.
The hospital staff has cared for more than 600 injured. About 50 of the 70 patients currently admitted are foreigners.
Shantha Bloemen, a communication officer for the U.N. children's agency in Bangkok, said they were planning to sending a team to the south on Wednesday to determine survivor's needs.
"The tragedy is going to be twofold," she said. "There's going to be foreign nationals that are in this situation because a lot of people were family on family holidays, and then of course, for the Thai communities in these areas as well."
"It's just a devastating loss," she added.