Samoa Tsunami Leaves Wave of Destruction

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People in the Samoan Islands are just beginning to recover from a deadly tsunami. The massive waves devastated the islands. The death toll is nearly 100 and rising.

Amateur video coming in over the Internet provided the first images of what it looks like Wednesday on the island of American Samoa.

"As you can see here, this bridge is totally wiped out by the waves," the eyewitness said. "There is absolutely no way of for any vehicles to go to that part of the island."

It all started 20 miles below the ocean floor with a magnitude 8.3 earthquake located in the South Pacific about 120 miles from the U.S. territory of American Samoa, which is home to roughly 65,000 people.

The island nation of Samoa is nearby -- 180,000 people live there. It's about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.

The quake triggered four tsunami waves about 20 feet high. Dozens of people were swept out to see. Villages flattened. Homes crumbled. Bridges vanished. Ships washed ashore.

"It's really happening and everyone is panicking. Because we did drills before and I guess we follow it and though when the real thing happens we just forgot about the drills," college student Tasatolo Taugi said.

"The roads are blocked, I mean it's cut into half. Some of the parts of the road are in the ocean, some cars in the ocean too, houses, people," he added.
 
More horror stories are sure to come as rescue crews make their way inland.

"There's really only been guesses, but some of these places appear to have been hit very hard and you would expect considerable loss of life," said Bill English, the acting New Zealand prime minister.

Some reports detail how residents on the Samoa Islands barely had 30 minutes before the tsunamis hit.

"Problem is, where the coast, where the land is, right next to the earthquake, you typically don't have enough time to digest the data and get a warning out in an effective way," said Susan Hough, a U.S. Geological Survey Seismologist.

Speaking of warnings, about 2, 300 miles away in Hawaii, police were on the beach warning sunbathers.

"I would strongly advise stay out of the water and away from the shoreline," an officer warned people on the beach.
 
Tourists weren't taking the warning too seriously

"I wasn't concerned at all. I figured that somebody would be stopping people if there was a big emergency," Canadian tourist Darren Dickenson said.

That emergency is happening right now in the middle of the South Pacific.

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