SYDNEY — Six bodies, including a child’s, were found in the sodden wreckage left by a tsunami that smashed into villages in the Solomon Islands, flattening dozens of homes in the South Pacific island chain.
The 4-foot, 11-inch waves that roared inland on Santa Cruz Island, in the eastern Solomons, on Wednesday were too fast to outrun for five elderly villagers and one child, who died after being sucked under the rushing water, George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister, said Thursday. Several other people were still missing and dozens of strong aftershocks were keeping frightened villagers from returning to the coast, Herming said.
The tsunami was generated by a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck near the town of Lata, on Santa Cruz in Temotu, the easternmost province in the Solomons. Temotu has a population of around 30,000.
The damage appeared to be concentrated to the west side of Santa Cruz, with five villages wiped out, Herming said. Authorities were still struggling to reach the remote area but an estimated 100 homes had been damaged or destroyed, he said.