Tsunami waves damage harbors on US West Coast, one missing

Updated: 2011-03-12 08:02


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Tsunami waves damage harbors on US West Coast, one missing

A boat slowly sinks in the Santa Cruz Harbor in Santa Cruz, California March 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

SAN FRANCISCO - The tsunami waves set in by the devastating Japanese earthquake swept across the Pacific on Friday to the US West Coast, washing at least seven people out to sea and leaving the waters littered with debris of capsized boats and battered docks.

According to the US Coast Guard, three people had gone to the Northern California coast near the Klamath River to take pictures of the arrival of tsunami waves around 10 am local time when they were swept out to sea.

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Two of them made safely back to shore, but the third remained missing who is still being searched by Coast Guard helicopters.

At the northwestern tip of California, the tsunami waves caused serious damages to Crescent City, much of which was destroyed in 1964 by a tsunami caused by a 9.2-magnitude quake in Alaska.

The US Coast Guard said they found 20 to 30 vessels damaged at Crescent City Harbor. Local authorities told KTVU television station that some 35 vessels crashed into one another and were sinking, and the docks and the harbor were pretty much completely destroyed while the damage cost was estimated to be into the millions.

In Santa Cruz, about 115 kilometers south of San Francisco, the US, Coast Guard found six vessels had sunk or were overturned in Santa Cruz Harbor. Local media reports said at least 15 fishing and pleasure crafts were ripped from their moorings and heavily damaged during the surge.

In the state of Oregon, four people were rescued by local firefighters and one almost drowned near Pistol River south of Gold Beach, local emergency management coordinator said.

Chris Cantwell, operation supervisor of Port of Brookings-Harbor, told local newspaper The Oregonian that 70 percent of the port's commercial basin was destroyed.

Local authorities in Oregon said the third tsunami waves in the morning caused the most damage. Seven boats were swept out to sea while several others sunk or sustained severe damage. The body of a man was also found on one of the boats, but local police said it is unclear whether the death resulted from the tsunami.

According to latest report by Kyodo news agency, 184 people were killed and 708 others were missing following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern and eastern Japan and triggered a massive tsunami on Friday.



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