A tsunami apparently caused by the eruption of an island volcano has killed hundreds of people after the waves hit the coast around Indonesia's Sunda Strait, sending a wall of water some 65 feet inland and damaging houses and hotels, the government and eyewitnesses said.
Update 5:02 a.m. EST Dec. 25: Indonesia’s disaster agency says the death toll has increased to 429, with 128 still missing and more than 1,400 injured, BBC News reported.
Update 8:10 a.m. EST Dec. 24: Indonesia’s disaster agency says the death toll has climbed to 373, with 128 missing and 1,459 injured, Sky News reported.
Update 9:15 p.m. EST Dec. 23: The death toll from the tsunami has risen past 280 with more than 1,000 people injured according to an Indonesian disaster agency spokesman.
Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the latest tolls were 281 dead and 1,016 injured. The tally of missing is 57 but the numbers are expected to rise.
Update 8:28 a.m. EST Dec. 23: A second tsunami warning Sunday afternoon in Pandeglang was caused by faulty sirens, as panicked residents sought higher ground, the Jakarta Post reported.
The sirens began to sound at 12:45 p.m. local time, causing residents to flee from the beach, the newspaper reported.
"The BMKG (Meterology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) did not issue any warning. The tsunami sirens in Lambuhan Bay, Labuhan district, Pandeglang regency, just started on its own without being activated by the BMKG or the BNPB," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency, told reporters. "It is likely that a technical problem caused the sirens to sound on their own.”
Update 6:17 a.m. EST Dec. 23: The death toll from the tsunami in Indonesia rose to 222, according to the Disaster Management Agency. More than 800 people were reported injured and at least 28 others were missing.
Update 2:35 a.m. EST Dec. 23: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency, said on Indonesian television that the tsunami killed at least 168 people and injured at least 745, CNN reported.
Nugroho also said 30 people are missing.
The tsunami has destroyed 558 houses and damaged nine hotels, 60 restaurants and 350 boats, according to CNN.
Update 1:50 a.m. EST Dec. 23: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s national disaster agency, told Reuters the tsunami was caused by “an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatau” and an abnormally high tide because of the full moon.
According to University of Michigan professor Ben van der Pluijm, an earthquake geologist, the tsunami may have been caused by a “partial collapse” of Anak Krakatau.
“Instability of the slope of an active volcano can create a rock slide that moves a large volume of water, creating local tsunami waves that can be very powerful. This is like suddenly dropping a bag of sand in a tub filled with water,” van der Pluijm told Reuters.
Original report: Footage posted on social media showed a pop band named “Seventeen” performing under a tent on a beach as dozens of people sat listening at tables. Then, in between songs with the drummer pounding, the stage suddenly heaved forward, throwing the band and all their equipment into the audience.
The band released a statement saying their bass player and road manager were found dead, while four other members of their group remained missing.
More than 600 people have been reported injured and dozens are missing, the Disaster Management Agency said.
The worst affected area was the Pandeglang region of Banten province in Java, which encompasses the Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the disaster agency said. Of the deaths, 33 were in Pandeglang.
The BBC said that undersea landslides likely caused the tsunami after the Krakatau Volcano erupted.
The Meteorology and Geophysics agency in a separate statement said it could have been caused by undersea landslides from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the Krakatau volcano, which last erupted in October.
“I had to run, as the wave passed the beach and landed 15-20m (meters) inland,” Øystein Lund Andersen wrote on Facebook. He said he was taking pictures of the volcano when he suddenly saw a big wave come toward him.
“Next wave entered the hotel area where I was staying and downed cars on the road behind it. Managed to evacuate with my family to higher ground trough forest paths and villages, where we are taken care of (by) the locals. Were unharmed, thankfully.”
The Anak Krakatau volcano erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.
The 1,000-foot-high volcano, about 124 miles southwest of capital Jakarta, has been erupting since June.
More than 2,500 people were killed in September when a quake and tsunami that hit the city of Palu on the island of Sulawesi, which is just east of Borneo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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