Los Angeles: Supermodel Petra Nemcova considers herself to be lucky after she survived the tsunami in 2004.
Nemcova was hit by the tsunami while on vacation with her boyfriend, photographer Simon Atlee, in Thailand, reports people.com.
"The tsunami has given me many gifts and one of them has been consciousness of how lucky I am," she told NBC News as she revisited the beach town of Khao Lak, Thailand, to mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
Swept out to sea on Dec 26, 2004, she clung onto a palm tree for almost eight hours. She suffered internal injuries and a shattered pelvis and was one of the few people to survive.
Her boyfriend and more than 200,000 people in 14 countries died in one of the deadliest tsunamis in modern history.
"I never knew what a tsunami was. I never heard the word before - never. (Surviving the tragedy) gave me the drive to help children every day since, because that day I didn't have a choice and now I have a choice," she said.
Remembering the cries for help as she clung to that palm tree, Nemcova founded the Happy Hearts Charity, which has rebuilt more than 105 schools in areas impacted by natural disasters.