September 30, 2009—Tsunami waves, sparked by a powerful underwater earthquake, swept away people and cars and flattened villages in Samoa (Samoa location on map), American Samoa, and Tonga in the South Pacific on Tuesday—as seen in amateur video. (See new Samoan-islands tsunami pictures.)
© 2009 National Geographic (AP)
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Amateur Video posted on YouTube shows devastation in the wake of massive tsunami waves that washed across the shores of Samoa and American Samoa.
Villages were flattened and cars and people swept out to sea by the force of the waves. Associated Press reports at least 82 dead and dozens missing. At least 19 of the deaths were on American Samoa, where this video was taken.
The earthquake could be felt in American Samoa, home to about 65,000 people. The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3 shook the ground in the morning, local time, and was about 125 miles south of Apia, Samoa. Samoa has over 200,000 residents.
This video was taken as the waters were still receding in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
A U.S. National Parks superintendent reported at least four tsunami waves over 15 feet high coming ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile inland.
The Samoan Prime Minister was in New Zealand when the tsunami hit. SOUNDBITE (English): Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Samoan Prime Minister "It's most distressing to me personally. I am trying to come to terms with the events and of course how we are going to respond."
Tsunami warnings were posted as far away to the north as Japan, Hawaii, and the U.S. and Canada west coast. To the south, the island of Tonga suffered serious damage as seen in aerial photos. Reportedly waves as high as 12 feet swept onto the island nation with at least 10 deaths reported.