Samoa Tsunami Toll Hits 150
Villagers describe terror of being trapped underwater
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2009 8:39 AM CDT
Locals walk through a destroyed village outside Apia in Samoa on Wednesday Sept. 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Brett Phibbs)
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(Newser) – Stunned Samoans combed through the sodden wreckage of their lives and told of the terror of being trapped underwater or flung inland by a tsunami that ravaged towns and killed at least 150 people in the South Pacific. Officials expect the death toll from Tuesday's disaster to rise as more areas are searched. "The devastation caused was complete," Samoa's PM said.

"In some villages absolutely no house was standing. All that was achieved within 10 minutes by the very powerful tsunami," he added. The PM's own village of Lesa was washed away, as were many others in Samoa and nearby American Samoa and Tonga.  "To me it was like a monster—just black water coming to you," said one government employee in American Samoa. "It wasn't a wave that breaks, it was a full force of water coming straight."