A tsunami set off by a volcanic eruption on Saturday killed at least 222 people in Indonesia on this holiday weekend. More than 800 were injured and dozens remain missing.
The massive flow of water waves smashed onto Carita Beach, one of the world’s most infamous volcanic islands, at 9:30 p.m., catching people off guard. The tidal wave ripped houses and hotels from their foundations in seconds and swept terrified concertgoers into the sea, the Associated Press reported.
Dramatic video posted on social media showed the Indonesian pop band “Seventeen” performing under a tent on a popular beach at a concert for employees of a state-owned electricity company. Dozens of people sat listening at tables covered in white cloths while others bobbed to the music near the stage as bright strobe lights flashed and theatrical smoke was released.
A child could also be seen wandering through the crowd. Seconds later, with the drummer pounding just as the next song was about to begin, the stage suddenly heaved forward and buckled under the force of the water, tossing the band and its equipment into the audience.
The group released a statement saying their bass player, guitarist and road manager were found dead, while two other band members and the wife of one of the performers remained missing.
“The tide rose to the surface and dragged all the people on site,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, when the current receded our members were unable to save themselves while some did not find a place to hold on.”
Scientists said that the tsunami may have been caused by underwater landslides or those on Anak Krakatau’s steep slope following its eruption. The volcano’s name translates to “Child of Krakatoa,” a volcanic island formed over years “after one of the largest, most devastating eruptions in recorded history occurred at the Krakatoa volcano more than a century ago,” the AP said. “The scientists also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.”
The Anak Krakatau volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands, linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. It erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.
The worst-affected area was the Pandeglang region of Java’s Banten province, which encompasses Ujung Kulon National Park and popular beaches, the disaster agency said.
Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 222 deaths had been confirmed and at least 843 people were injured.
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.
“My deep condolences to the victims in Banten and Lumpung provinces,” he said. “Hopefully, those who are left have patience.”