Update by news.ninemsn.com.au:
A three-metre-high tsunami wave has hit a boat carrying Australian tourists off the Indonesian island of Pagai after a major 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the archipelago, Nine News has reported.
Australian Rick Hallett has told Today he was on his charter boat with guests when the wall of water rolled into their bay in the Mentawai Islands, a famous surfing spot. “Within minutes [of the earthquake] we heard a roar,” he said. “We looked out behind us and saw a wall of white coming at us.”
Mr Hallett said the wave picked up one boat and pitched it towards theirs, which burst into flames and exploded. “I ordered everyone onto the top deck. We threw anything that floated into the water … and jumped in.”
Mr Hallett said there were nine Australians, one American and four Indonesian crew onboard when the wave hit. “We were carried up to 200m inland, fortunately most of us had something to hold on to and managed to avoid trees.”
Mr Hallett said they scrambled up trees where they stayed for an hour and a half as the sea heaved. “It was basically a head count trying to locate everyone.”
He said amazingly no one on his boat was lost, but he saw a lot of debris, possibly from a resort on Pagai Island.
As reported on www.stuff.co.nz…
A group of Australian surfers were forced to climb trees to escape a tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The surfers, from the Gold Coast and Sydney, were on two charter boats near the the Mentawai islands when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Indonesia on Monday (3.42am today, NZ time).
Jamie Gray, a spokesman for The Perfect Wave Surf Travel which organised the surfing trip, said two charter boats – the Midas and Freedom – collided when the tsunami shifted the boats off their anchors.
One of the boats burst into flames during the collision, before the surfers were washed into the jungle, he said.
Mr Gray told Radio 3AW in Australia that Tom Plummer – who heads up SurfAid International in the island chain – had sent his boat Dabora to pick-up Midas passengers who had hit the boat Freedom, which caught on fire.
“Obviously, the tsunami has come along and shifted the boats off anchor. They anchor off Macaroni Bay there and they ran into each other. I don’t know how one of the boats has lit up.
“By the looks of things, they’ve all been sort of washed into the jungle area and they’ve all climbed trees.”
His emails said everyone seemed to be okay, “but I can’t get hold of them via phone so obviously until I speak to them the concern will be there.”
Australian Rick Hallett has told the Nine Network he was on his charter boat with guests when the wall of water rolled into their bay in the Mentawai Islands.
He said it picked up one boat and pitched it towards theirs, which burst into flames and exploded.