Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 7 October 2015

British infant among scores killed in Samoa tsunami

Published 30/09/2009

The aftermath of the the tsunami which hit American Samoa - Sep 29, 2009
The aftermath of the the tsunami which hit American Samoa - Sep 29, 2009
The aftermath of the the tsunami which hit American Samoa - Sep 29, 2009
The aftermath of the the tsunami which hit American Samoa - Sep 29, 2009
A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, is seen flooded by water from a tsunami located in the main town area in American Samoa on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. Towering tsunami waves spawned by a powerful earthquake swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing at least 34 people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities. (AP Photo/Fili Sagapolutele)

At least 82 people were killed when a powerful earthquake in the Pacific Ocean triggered a tsunami which swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa.

One of the victims is a two-year-old British child. The infant, who had been reported missing after a tsunami struck, has been found dead, sources said today.

The Foreign Office confirmed that a British national had died after the disaster struck the South Pacific island.

Dozens of others were missing after towering waves flooded and flattened villages.

The tremor, with a magnitude of between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn yesterday, about 120 miles (190km) from American Samoa, a US territory which is home to 65,000 people.

Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted by a parks service spokeswoman as saying that four tsunami waves 15ft to 20ft (4m to 6m) high roared ashore soon afterwards, reaching up to a mile (1.6km) inland.

At least 82 people were killed - 63 on Samoa and 19 on American Samoa - but officials said the death toll seemed sure to rise.

A fresh tsunami alert rang out in the capital of Samoa today.

A reporter in Apia told New Zealand's National Radio: "There's another warning of another tsunami, people are running for higher ground."

The reporter was broadcasting live as police sounded sirens behind him to warn people to head for high ground across the island.

The US Geological Survey earthquake website and that of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii had no immediate reports of a new quake or tsunami in the region.

Reporter Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia told the network there was a lot of panic, but no earthquake had been felt on the island.

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