Indonesia tsunami: 'I clung to a bench'

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More than 220 people were killed and 843 injured when a tsunami hit coastal towns on Indonesia's Sunda Strait on Saturday. Here, the survivors talk about what happened.

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'I almost ran out of breath'

Image source, Social media
Image caption,
The band Seventeen were performing on stage when the tsunami hit

Footage shared on social media showed a large wave crashing into a tent in the resort, in which a popular Indonesian rock band, Seventeen, was performing.

Members of the band were seen being swept away as the wave destroyed the stage.

In a tearful Instagram video, singer Riefian Fajarsyah, said the band's bassist and road manager had died, and that three other band members and his own wife were missing.

In another post, he shared a picture of him with his wife in Paris saying: "Today is your birthday... Hurry home."

A crew member, Zack, said on Instagram that he survived by grabbing onto part of the stage, and "in the final seconds [underwater] I almost ran out of breath", Reuters reported.

A statement from the group, reported by AP news agency, said: "The tide rose to the surface and dragged all the people on site.

"Unfortunately, when the current receded our members are unable to save themselves while some did not find a place to hold on."

'I clung to a bench'

Image caption,
Shop owner Rudi Herdiansyah was knocked down by the wall of water

Shop owner Rudi Herdiansyah, from Cinangka sub-district, Serang district, Banten province, said the beach was quiet on Saturday night, until he heard a "very loud noise from the sea".

The wall of water smashed into his beachside shop and he was dragged away by the powerful wave.

He recalled being knocked down three times.

"Thank God. Allah saved me, I was able to get out from the debris," he said.

Image caption,
Rudi's beachside shop was partially destroyed by the tsunami

He said he didn't hear any warnings, but he had once taken part in a tsunami drill.

"It made me aware," he said. "I tried to get hold of anything to help me survive. I hid away, and clung onto a bench, to be safe."

His warung (small shop) was devastated by the tsunami.

Rudi said he and his family would evacuate to the homes of their relatives in Cipacung, Serang, until they knew the situation was no longer dangerous.

'I was afraid I would die'

Azki Kurniawan, 16, said he was undergoing training with some 30 other students at Patra Comfort Hotel in the popular resort area of Carita Beach on Java when people suddenly burst into the lobby yelling: "Sea water rising!"

Image source, Reuters
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Debris is strewn across Carita beach in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia

He told AP news agency that he wasn't sure what was happening because he didn't feel an earthquake. He ran to the parking lot to try to reach his motorbike but it was already flooded by the time he got there.

"Suddenly a 1m (3.3ft) wave hit me," he said.

"I fell down, the water separated me from my bike. I was thrown into the fence of a building about 30m from the beach and held onto 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."

'Residents ran to the forest'

Asep Perangkat told AFP news agency that he was with his family on Carita beach on Java when the wave surged through the town, carving a path of destruction.

"Cars were dragged about 10m (32ft) and so were containers," he said.

"Buildings on the edge of the beach were destroyed, trees and electricity poles fell to the ground. All the residents that are safe ran to the forest."

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
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Buildings in Carita have been destroyed by the tsunami

Alif, a resident in Pandeglang district on Java, told MetroTV that many residents were still searching for missing relatives.

In Lampung province, on Sumatra, 23-year-old Lutfi Al Rasyid told AFP: "I could not start my motorbike so I left it and I ran... I just prayed and ran as far as I could."

In the city of Bandar Lampung, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor's office, AP news agency reports.

'There were two waves'

Oystein Lund Andersen, Norwegian volcano photographer, Anyer Beach in West Java

I was on the beach. I was alone, my family were sleeping in a room.

I was trying to photograph the erupting Krakatau volcano.

Earlier in the evening, there was quite heavy eruption activity. But just prior to the waves hitting the beach, there was no activity at all. It was just dark out there.

And suddenly I saw this wave coming, and I had to run.

There were two waves. The first wave wasn't that strong - I could run from it.

Image source, Oystein Lund Andersen
Image caption,
Flooded streets in Anyer after the tsunami

I ran straight to the hotel, where my wife and my son were sleeping.

And I woke them up... and I heard a bigger wave coming. I looked out of the window when the second wave hit. It was much bigger.

The wave passed the hotel. Cars were pushed off the road.

We and other people at the hotel went straight to the forest (on higher ground) next to the hotel. And we're still up on the hill now.

- Oystein Lund Andersen was speaking to BBC World News television

'Everything has been destroyed'

Rani has a beachside stall in Anyer on Java that was destroyed by the tsunami.

"Everything has been destroyed and we don't have the money to rebuild," she said.

This is usually a peak holiday season that they heavily rely on for income.