Fears are growing that more tsunamis could be triggered by Indonesia’s erupting Anak Krakatau volcano.
At least 281 people are known to have been killed after a giant wave destroyed hundreds of homes, hotels and businesses along tourist beaches in Java and Sumatra on Saturday.
Many hundreds more were injured and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue efforts continue.
Authorities in Indonesia believe the tsunami was triggered after Anak Krakatau – ‘child of Krakatoa’ – erupted, 14 years after the Boxing Day tsunami that killed more than 227,000 across South East Asia.
At least 281 people are known to have been killed after a giant wave destroyed hundreds of homes, hotels and businesses along tourist beaches in Java and Sumatra on Saturday
Water came rushing ashore in the darkness, with no prior shaking of the ground to indicate the crushing force that was closing in on the victims.
Survivors described running for their lives as waves up to 20ft tall swept away everything in their path. Musicians from a popular boy band were among those killed when the massive wave hit while they were onstage at a beach concert, hurling them into the audience before sweeping them out to sea.
Yesterday bodies were washed back on to the shore and others were discovered inside the wreckage of their former homes.
Echo of Boxing Day horror
Earthquakes and tsunamis have killed thousands on Indonesian islands in a torrid few months – but none has come close to the catastrophe that hit the region on Boxing Day 2004.
A ten-minute 9.1-magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean at 8am sent a series of tsunamis towards land over the next seven hours, with some waves reaching 98ft (29 metres). In total about 227,000 people died in 14 countries – including more than 120,000 in Indonesia – as areas as far away as East Africa in one direction and Mexico in the other were devastated.
Daily Mail readers were quick to help, raising £1million within 48 hours of our Flood Aid Appeal being launched, which reached £16million from 400,000 contributions – a world record for a newspaper campaign. The money helped rebuild schools, distributed clean water and financed aid agencies to carry out long-term projects.
Resort group chairman Pak SD Darmano, whose hotel was hit by the tsunami, described the devastation. He said 500 people were staying at the hotel and that 90 corpses had been found so far, adding: ‘Every minute more dead bodies are coming to our place.’
Indonesia’s disaster management agency said 281 deaths were confirmed, with at least 1016 injured, 56 missing and 11,687 people displaced as of 10am local time.
The worst affected area was the Pandeglang region of Java, which contains the Ujung Kulon national park and several popular beaches.
Aerial images showed houses reduced to rubble, trees uprooted and cars overturned. The island was hit by a 5.0 magnitude earthquake yesterday afternoon, rocking the Tiku area.
Fireballs, lava and ash spewed into the night sky at 9.30pm (2.30pm GMT) on Saturday as Anak Krakatau erupted.
Named after the infamous Krakatoa volcano which killed more than 36,000 in 1883, it has been erupting since June and experts warned further eruptions were possible.
Saturday’s eruption was believed to have triggered an underwater landslide, which in turn generated the killer waves. But it did not set off the early warning system designed to spot tsunami risks from quakes.
Lava streams down from the volcano Anak Krakatau – meaning Child of Krakatoa – during the eruption as seen from Rakata island in South Lampung, Indonesia
Fire and ash: An aerial view of the volcano on Sunday after the eruption which sent a wall of water slamming into the shore, in a natural disaster which has killed 281 people
The lack of warning left people unprepared when the wall of water hit. A housewife who gave her name only as Yuni said: ‘I was at home and watching television. Then I heard a rumbling sound and I thought it was the wind.
‘After I opened the door water came in quickly and dragged me out, when I saw outside the sea was receding. I decided to run and go as the water came again for the second time.’
Azki Kurniawan, 16, a hotel worker, was at a training session when people ran into the hotel lobby screaming ‘Sea water rising!’ He ran to the car park to get his motorbike but found it flooded.
He said: ‘Suddenly a one-metre wave hit me. I fell down, the water separated me from my bike. I was thrown into the fence of a building about 30metres from the beach and held on to the fence as strong as I could, trying to resist the water, which feels like it would drag me back into the sea. I cried in fear… This is a tsunami? I was afraid I would die.’
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued a warning to airline pilots working in the region that a volcanic ash cloud is heading south west from the scene of of the eruption up to an altitude of 55,000 feet
The wave hit beaches on the Sunda Strait – between the islands of Java and Sumatra (pictured residents inspect the damage to their homes on Carita Beach, Banten)
The teenager said he was confused because he had not felt any tremors from an earthquake, and had not believed a tsunami was possible.
Indonesia lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide causing increased risk of earthquakes and volcanoes. Another tsunami on the island of Sulawesi in September killed 2,000 people.
Anak Krakatoa is one of 127 active volcanoes which run the length of the Indonesian archipelago and has been on a ‘watch list’ because of heightened activity in recent days.
Scientists questioned whether an early warning should have been issued because of the volcanic activity.
Dr Richard Teeuw, a disaster risk reduction specialist at Portsmouth University, said: ‘The likelihood of further tsunamis will remain high while Anak Krakatoa volcano is going through its current active phase because that might trigger further submarine landslides.’
Save the Children last night asked for donations to its emergency fund as it assesses what can be done to help. Pledges can be made via savethechildren.org.uk
Miracle among the rubble: Rescuers pull tiny boy to safety after 12 hours trapped in buried car
Trapped for hours in the aftermath of the deadly Indonesian tsunami, this is the dramatic moment a young boy was pulled alive from the wreckage in Java.
Rescuers heard the sobbing child’s cries coming from a car crushed under fallen trees, 12 hours after the giant wave struck without warning, killing at least 281 and leaving hundreds more injured and homeless.
The boy, thought to be five, appeared unharmed but it was unclear if his family had survived, as authorities warned the death toll was likely to rise.
Rescue efforts continued as aid agencies began urgent assessments of the risks faced by survivors who have lost homes and businesses. Many have been left destitute.
Shop owner Rudi Herdiansyah described how a wall of water smashed into his beachside shop in Java and dragged him away. He said there was no warning until a ‘very loud noise from the sea’ just moments before the water hit.
He was hit and knocked down three times before freeing himself from the debris and recalling his tsunami drill training. He said: ‘I tried to get hold of anything. I hid and clung on to a bench.’ His shop, constructed from wood and corrugated metal, was destroyed and he now plans to take his family to relatives until it is safe to return.
Shocking moment tsunami crashes through packed concert in Indonesia
Musicians in an Indonesian boy band were swept away and killed when a 20ft wave smashed into their stage.
In a stark illustration of how unexpected the tragedy was, the guitarist and bass player of group Seventeen died as the tsunami struck the stage mid-performance.
The band’s road manager and a crew member also died, while the drummer and the lead singer’s wife are missing.
Singer Riefian Fajarsyah, known as Ifan, last night made an emotional appeal to fans to pray for their survival.
Footage taken by concert-goers showed the dramatic moment the tsunami hit the stage – hurling band members towards the audience and sweeping them out to sea.
Mr Fajarsyah, the only band member known to have survived, was initially dragged out to sea.
He told Indonesian media: ‘There were probably around 20 to 24 corpses around me.’ A crew member, named only as Zack, told how he survived by clinging to part of the collapsed stage.
The band Seventeen were playing a set when the tsunami struck
He said: ‘Underwater I could only pray, ‘Jesus Christ, help!’ In the final seconds I almost ran out of breath.’
The band were playing to a large crowd in a marquee at the Tanjung Lesung beach resort on the western tip of Java.
The concert organisers said at least 29 people were killed and 13 were missing.
Mr Fajarsyah posted an emotional video to his 260,000 Instagram followers in which he announced that two of his bandmates were dead and his wife was missing.
He also posted a picture of himself with wife Dylan, taken in Paris, which read: ‘Today is your birthday. I want to say happy birthday to you in person. Please come back home quickly, my dear.’