A huge magnitude 8.3 earthquake in the South Pacific created a series of tsunami waves that struck the islands of Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga and Pago Pago, causing the deaths of at least 100 people, and leaving a swath of destruction.
The quake occurred around 20 miles (33 kms) deep under the ocean floor in the early morning hours local time. Tsunami warnings were quickly issued, and many local residents were able to flee to higher ground before a succession of waves struck the low lying islands.
The island nation of Samoa, and the U.S. territory, American Samoa, received the full force of the waves, and suffered the greatest loss of life and property damage. Many villages, hotels, resorts, roads and bridges along the coast were wiped out. A number of boats were hurled inland by the force of the waves.
Reports have estimated that at least four successive waves struck the islands with walls of water between 10 and 30 feet (3 to 9 meters) high.
A general tsunami warning was issued shortly after the earthquake, but it has been cancelled.
Source: news reports
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