Our Productions

Hero Animals: The Elephant That Rescued The Girl

  • 2009
  • 30 mins
  • Channel 5/National Geographic

Episode 4 of 6-part series for Channel 5/National Geographic

The Elephant That Rescued The Girl is a drama-documentary re-living how an eight-year-old girl survived a freak tidal wave thanks to an elephant called, Ning Nong.

Amber Owen was enjoying the holiday of a lifetime in Thailand when the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami struck, killing nearly a quarter-million people.

The little girl could easily have been among the dead or injured. Unaware of the deadly events unfolding deep in the Indian Ocean, she was enjoying a ride on her new best friend: Ning Nong, the elephant. But, unusually, Ning Nong was unsettled, and when the sea ebbed out suddenly, ran from the beach, still carrying Amber and forcing its handler in the same direction.

Minutes later, from safe higher ground, all watched in horror as a vast wave from a sub-sea earthquake inundated the coast. The tsunami’s death and injuries toll shocked the world, but Amber lived – all thanks, say her family, to the instincts and quick reaction of her elephant friend.


'These documentaries tend to be diverting in a "Gosh, really?" way, but this one, The Elephant Who Saved the Girl, is surprisingly emotional.' - The Sunday Times
'Amazing!' - What's On TV


  • Narrator:
    Paul Viragh
  • Photography:
    Mark Hammond and Phil Mash
  • Music:
    Al Lethbridge and Audio Network
  • Editor:
    Will Joby
  • Producer/Director:
    John Maidens
  • Executive Producer:
    Sarah Cunliffe