At Least 384 People Have Died In Horrific Indonesian Tsunami

An utterly devastating tsunami has taken the lives of 384 people in Indonesia.

A further 540 are reported to be injured after a 6.1 magnitude tremor hit the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday followed by a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

This caused giant waves up to six metres (18 feet) high, which caused the deaths of many as they played on the beach in the scenic tourist town.

Scores of families are missing among the debris of the thousands of buildings that were swept away or demolished.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency BNPB, said in news briefing in Jakarta: "When the (tsunami) threat arose yesterday, people were still doing their activities on the beach and did not immediately run and they became victims."

He also told Reuters: "Many bodies were found along the shoreline because of the tsunami, but the numbers are still unknown."

Some people climbed six metre (18 feet) trees to escape the tsunami and survived, Nugroho said.

Strong aftershocks continued to rock the coastal city of Palu on Saturday morning, which is home to about 350,000 people on the coast of Sulawesi island.

In Palu, hundreds of people had been preparing for a beach festival that was due to start on Friday night.

The city's main hospital was damaged in the quake, and TV footage showed dozens of injured people being treated outside in makeshift medical tents.

President Joko Widodo said on Saturday that troops were en route to the area to reinforce rescue teams and help retrieve bodies.

The main airport in Palu has been closed since the tsunami hit. A minister said the runway had been damaged but that it was hoped helicopters would still be able to land.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The country's military is sending cargo planes of relief aid from the capital, Jakarta.

The earthquake hit just off central Sulawesi at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just before 18:00 (11:00 GMT), the US Geological Survey said.

A tsunami warning was issued, but lifted within the hour. Indonesia's meteorological agency has been criticised for its response, but officials said the waves struck while the warning was in place.

Dramatic footage shows the waves crashing through the shoreline and sweeping away buildings while images of bodies being moved and lined up are chilling.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is a NCTJ qualified journalist from West Cumbria, with a passion for news, features and journalism. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013