TEN years ago one of the worst natural disasters in our history killed more than 250,000 people from 13 countries.

Two million more were made homeless.

Many hundreds of Westerners were holidaying in Thailand and Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit at about 10am on December 26.

A motion picture, ‘The Impossible’, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, tells the true story of a family torn apart by the sea and then reunited having miraculously survived.

The film, which I have seen, certainly tugs at the heart-strings, and, as a father myself, one can only imagine the horror of losing your family and then the indescribable joy of finding them again.

But that was a movie, albeit about a true event, and somehow its impact didn’t fully register.

However, over the weekend, I was talking to a Norwegian at supper when the conversation turned to the tsunami.

He appeared to hesitate, and then to my astonishment revealed that his sister had been holidaying in Thailand with her family when the wave hit.

Silence descended around the table as the story unfolded.

The family were on the beach at the time, vulnerable and exposed, and when they saw the wave coming they ran desperately for cover.

They didn’t make it.

The mother managed to grab her daughter’s hand, before both of them were swept away.

Of her husband and other child, she feared the worst.

A fridge then forced mother and daughter apart and all appeared lost.

However, it was not to be.

One can only imagine what each family member went through as they fought to stay afloat – but within 24 hours they were reunited.

That particular moment, of course, could not be relayed as my Norwegian friend was not there.

But the sheer thought sends a shiver down my spine.