An undersea earthquake about 125 miles from Samoa has caused a tsunami that washed over nearby American Samoa. The Pago Harbor area was hard hit, according to a report posted by Kirk Harnack to his Facebook page.
The earthquake hit Sept. 29th at 6:48 a.m. local time (1:48 p.m. EDT) and the wave reached Pago Pago around 8:13 a.m. local time (3:13 p.m. EDT).
Harnack, director of international business development for Telos Systems, is vice president of engineering for South Seas Broadcasting, which owns KKHJ-FM and WVUV-FM in Pago Pago, American Samoa. According to a report posted by Harnack from Joey Cummings, manager of the stations, the Pago Harbor area was hit with a wave 20 feet to 40 feet in height. AC power is out to the stations and is believed to be out at the transmitter site.
“All cars in our building's parking lot are washed out to the harbor. KKHJ-FM and WVUV-FM - our offices, too - are on the 2nd floor of the Pago Plaza building. They're OK. But the ground-mounted generator (landlord provided) is non-operable now,” Cummings wrote.
“Reports of cars, ‘aiga busses’ (private busses) and school busses being washed out to the harbor or to sea. Surely dozens missing and presumed drowned. Dozens if not hundreds of businesses surround Pago Harbor — many of them are now gone,” Cummings continued.Tsunami warning issued for New Zealand, Samoa after earthquake
Posted: 30 September 2009 0221 hrs
APIA: A powerful earthquake of magnitude 8.3 struck off the South Pacific island nation of Samoa on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami warning and sending coastal residents fleeing to higher ground.
The quake was strong enough for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to issue a tsunami warning for a large swathe of the South Pacific including Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga.
"I'm taking my family to a safe place. Everyone's getting out of coastal areas," Samoa resident Keni Lesa told AFP in the capital Apia.
But Lesa said there was no panic as "we have done a lot of training for this" living on a low lying island in an earthquake prone area.
There were no immediate reports of damage from the earthquake, apart from a few landslips.
In a preliminary earthquake report, the US Geological Survey put the epicentre 204 kilometres south-southwest of Apia and at a depth of 85 kilometres.
The tsunami warning was also in effect for American Samoa, Samoa, Niue Island, the Wallis and Futuna Islands, the Tokelau atolls, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Kermadec Islands, the Baker and Howland Islands, Jarvis Island, French Polynesia and the Palmyra Islands.
A tsunami watch was issued for Vanuatu, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Kosrae Island, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Pohnpei in Micronesia, the Wake Islands, Pitcairn and the Midway Islands.
"It is not known that a tsunami was generated," said a statement from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.
"This warning is based only on the earthquake evaluation. An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours.
"Authorities should take appropriate action in response to this possibility," the centre advised. - AFP/d
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