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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Drawing of The Great Wave; link to our Tsunamis and Earthquakes web page.


Notes From the Field...

Eyewitness Reports from Sumatra

Report forwarded by Bill Sharp, Director, Sumatra Surfzone Relief Operation (contact: at 7:20 am 31 March 2005 PST (1430 1 April UTC) Location: Simeulue Island

Eyewitness confirmation on a 12 foot tsunami at Tuluk Gosong, Salur and points north. Brian Willy was at his house today and confirmed the story. Ranu, Surfguide, also confirmed it. He was an eyewitness. Said he will never forget the sight of it steaming in through the bay. "A white fence of fire".

"Sounded like many Buffalo running"

It was the first of three in diminishing size and destruction. Boats thrown around, Rumored octopus divers missing, one little boy.

It sent everyone running to the hills. But didn't really devastate like the last one [at this location]. Small house damage. Brian's place is leaning but still standing. 

His boat is thrown up into his garage.

Rumor from north is that tsunami was considerably larger. People up in the hills now, scared for good this time, Tent cities. Bridges down.

Communication dead.

Sinabang on fire. Extensive damage. Airstrip is fine, just the small terminal is collapsed.

Report from Brian Williams, Resident of Simeulue Island, at 31 Mar 2005 11:31 (Indonesian Time)

Those that went to the place would know that we only had 3 meters of beach in front, now look at it, 30 meters [wide] and reef showing, the reef (island) with the boat on it [used to be in the water and had about 1 meter freeboard].

Photo of stranded boat after tsunami.
Uplift at Gusong Bay, Simeulue. Photo by Brian Williams.

Aerial photo of beach after tsunami.
After tsunami at Gusong Bay, Simuelue. Photo by Brian Williams.

Photo of beach after tsunami.
The new beach at Gusong Bay, Simeulue. Photo by Brian Williams.

Photo of beach after tsunami.
Uplift at Gusong Bay, Simeulue. Photo by Brian Williams.

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