5 Killed when South Pacific Quake Triggers Tsunami


Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET: At least five people were killed on Wednesday after a strong earthquake in the South Pacific generated a 3 foot tsunami that aid workers said washed away homes and wiped out remote island communities.

A tidal surge moved houses by up to 30 feet, and there were reports of people and fishing boats being washed out to sea, according to local volunteers for humanitarian charity, World Vision.

The magnitude 8.0 quake struck Wednesday about 3 miles under the Santa Cruz Islands, a thinly-populated part of the Solomon Islands that lie east of Papua New Guinea and northeast of Australia, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

A 3 foot wave hit near the town of Lata, swamping some villages and the town's main airport as people fled to safety on higher ground, Reuters reported.

There was no tsunami threat to Hawaii, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. 

According to Reuters, Lata hospital's director of nursing, Augustine Pilve, told New Zealand television that five people had been killed, including a boy aged about ten. Pilve added that more casualties were possible as officials were making their way to villages that may have been hit.

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