Search for survivors intensifies after deadly Indonesia tsunami

/ CBS/AP

Search continues after tsunami hits Indonesia

Doctors worked to save injured victims while hundreds of military and volunteers scoured debris-strewn beaches in search of survivors Monday after a deadly tsunami gushed ashore without warning on Indonesian islands, killing at least 281 people on a busy holiday weekend. The Reuters news agency reported rescuers were using everything from heavy machinery to their bare hands hoping to find survivors. In addition, cleanup was beginning on some affected beaches, Reuter said.

Along with those who perished, more than 1,000 people were hurt. Dozens remained missing from the disaster areas along the coastlines of western Java and southern Sumatra islands, and the numbers could increase once authorities hear from all stricken areas. Reuters said some 12,000 people evacuated to higher ground.

The waves that swept terrified locals and tourists into the sea Saturday night followed an eruption on Anak Krakatau, or "Child of Krakatoa," one of the world's most infamous volcanic islands.

The 1,000-foot-high Anak Krakatau volcano lies on an island in the Sunda Strait linking the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. It's been erupting since June and did so again about 24 minutes before the tsunami, Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics agency said.

Aerial view of affected area after tsunami hit coast of Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, on December 24, 2018 ANTARA FOTO / REUTERS

The cause of the tsunami that followed remained somewhat unclear Monday.

Scientists cited by The Associated Press, including some from the geophysics agency, said it could have been set off by landslides – either above ground or underwater – on the steep slope of the erupting volcano. The scientists also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon as a contributing factor.

Gegar Prasetya, co-founder of the Tsunami Research Center Indonesia, told the AP the tsunami was likely caused by a flank collapse – when a big section of a volcano's slope gives way.

Reuters quoted scientists as saying the tsunami was triggered a massive underwater landslide that followed the collapse of part of the erupting Anak Krakatau.

The Indonesian Medical Association of the Banten region said it has sent doctors and medical supplies and equipment and that many of the injured were in need of surgery. It said most patients are domestic tourists who were visiting the beach during the long weekend ahead of Christmas.

It was the second deadly tsunami to hit seismically active Indonesia this year. A powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, giving residents a brief warning before the waves struck.

On Saturday night, however, the ground did not shake to alert people before the waves ripped buildings from their foundations and swept terrified concertgoers celebrating on a resort beach into the sea.

Dramatic video posted on social media showed the Indonesian pop band Seventeen performing under a tent on Tanjung Lesung beach at a concert for employees of a state-owned electricity company. Dozens of people sat at tables while others swayed to the music near the stage as strobe lights flashed and theatrical smoke was released. A child could also be seen wandering through the crowd.

Seconds later, with the drummer pounding just as the next song was about to begin, the stage suddenly heaved forward and buckled under the force of the water, tossing the band and its equipment into the audience.

Rescue workers carry a body bag containing remains of a victim of a tsunami at the beach front hotel in Pandeglang
Rescue workers carry body bag containing remains of victim of tsunami at beach front hotel in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, on December 24, 2018 JORGE SILVA / REUTERS

The group released a statement saying their bass player, guitarist and road manager were killed, while two other band members and the wife of one of the performers were missing. On Monday, five more bodies were recovered around the hotel, including a little boy.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Monday morning that 281 deaths had been confirmed and at least 1,016 people were injured.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo arrived by helicopter in the disaster area Monday. A day earlier, he expressed his sympathy and ordered government agencies to respond quickly to the disaster.

In the city of Bandar Lampung, on Sumatra, hundreds of residents took refuge at the governor's office, while at the popular resort area of Anyer beach, on Java, some survivors wandered in the debris.

Hundreds dead as tsunami hits Indonesia

Many of the affected areas are popular weekend getaways for residents of Jakarta, but foreigners were also visiting the area over the long holiday weekend. A Norwegian photographer and volcano enthusiast posted on Facebook that he had to run to escape the waves while on the beach photographing the volcano.

The tsunami was not huge and did not surge far inland, but its force was still powerful and destructive. Hotels and hundreds of homes were heavily damaged by the waves. Broken chunks of concrete and splintered sticks of wood littered hard-hit coastal areas, turning popular beach areas into near ghost towns. Debris from thatch-bamboo shacks was strewn along the coast.

Yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.

Anak Krakatau formed over years after the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, one of the largest, most devastating in recorded history. That disaster killed more than 30,000 people, launched far-reaching tsunamis and created so much ash that day was turned to night in the area and a global temperature drop was recorded.

Most of the island sank into a volcanic crater under the sea, and the area remained calm until the 1920s, when Anak Krakatau began to rise from the site. It continues to grow each year and erupts periodically.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands and home to 260 million people, lies along the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas, making access difficult in the best of conditions.

A powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August. And the tsunami and earthquake that hit Sulawesi in September killed more than 2,100 people, and thousands more are believed still buried in neighborhoods swallowed by a quake phenomenon known as liquefaction.

Saturday's tsunami also rekindled memories of the massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake that hit Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004. It spawned a giant tsunami off Sumatra island, killing more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries – the majority in Indonesia.

First published on December 24, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

An aerial view of an affected area after a tsunami hit the coast of Pandeglang Rescue workers carry a body bag containing remains of a victim of a tsunami at the beach front hotel in Pandeglang

Search for survivors intensifies after deadly Indonesia tsunami

Death toll nears 300, more than 1,000 hurt, dozens missing after tsunami that followed eruption of infamous Anak Krakatau volcano

updated 6M ago

Incoming chief of staff says "very possible" shutdown stretches into 2019

Senators say they still don't have a deal, and Trump is staying in town for Christmas

1H ago

Cruise ship rescues fishermen who were stranded for weeks

The sailors were saved Friday evening between Grand Cayman and Jamaica

5H ago

Car crashes into crowded Ohio church, injuring 6

Firefighters said the six injured at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Columbus were treated for cuts and other injuries

6H ago

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg up and working after surgery

No information has been released on when Ginsburg might return home

6H ago

The lawsuits that could bankrupt the opioid industry

The attorney behind a multibillion-dollar tobacco settlement in 1998 has turned his attention to the opioid epidemic. And he wants drug companies to pay

Dec 17

Cleaning up the plastic in the ocean

Discarded plastic is piling up around the world and pooling in the ocean. Sharyn Alfonsi reports on the problem's deadly consequences for wildlife and what can be done to stop it

Dec 16

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: The "60 Minutes" interview

Musk opens up to Lesley Stahl about Twitter, pot, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Model 3 and Tesla

Dec 9

Study examines effects of screen time on kids

"60 Minutes" goes inside a landmark government study of young minds to see if phones, tablets and other screens are impacting adolescent brain development

Dec 10

Ryan Speedo Green: From juvenile delinquency to opera stardom

After a childhood of anger and violence, the 32-year-old now commands the stage around the world

Dec 9

Remembering President George H.W. Bush

Former presidents and others look back on the life of President George H.W. Bush, who passed away Friday

Dec 2

Paradise Lost: Inside California's Camp Fire

"60 Minutes" reveals what firefighters saw as the deadliest wildfire in California history destroyed the town of Paradise

Dec 2

The chaos behind family separation at the border

A "60 Minutes" investigation has found the separations that dominated headlines this summer began earlier and were greater in number than the Trump administration admits

Nov 26

Right Rail – Video Promo – Listing

Apollo 8's Christmas greeting from the moon

On Christmas Eve 1968, the first humans to circle the moon aboard Apollo 8 sent back the first image of the Earth above the lunar surface. The picture, dubbed "Earthrise," showed humanity the beauty and fragility of our home planet, and helped invigorate the environmental movement. Lee Cowan talks with astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders; with Jeffrey Kluger, author of a book on Apollo 8; and with former Vice President Al Gore, who talks about the impact of that mission on man's environmental awareness.

18H ago 08:28

Tsunami in Indonesia kills over 220

A volcanic eruption Saturday night is believed to have triggered a tsunami, killing hundreds as waves crashed ashore along Indonesia’s Sunda Strait

16H ago 00:40

Bringing ballet to special young dancers

At a workshop by the New York City Ballet, children with disabilities can wear tutus and top hats, while experiencing the joy that dance brings. Lesley Stahl talks with Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky, a specialist in cerebral palsy, and with parents of children sharing movement in a studio with live music and other dancers.

18H ago 08:18

The story of "Silent Night"

Faith Salie looks back at the history of one of the Christmas season's most revered songs, written 200 years ago, and attends a special performance at New York's Trinity Church, commemorating the song's American debut in 1839.

15H ago 04:32

No end in sight for government shutdown

It's not looking as if the standoff between President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats over having American taxpayers fund his border wall will end any time soon. Correspondent Ed O'Keefe has the latest.

17H ago 01:20

Hundreds killed after volcanic eruption triggers tsunami

Tsunami sweeps away hotels, hundreds of houses and a group of people attending a beach concert

13H ago

Incoming chief of staff says "very possible" shutdown stretches into 2019

Senators say they still don't have a deal, and Trump is staying in town for Christmas

1H ago

Trump ousts Mattis 2 months early, taps Shanahan as acting defense chief

Decision follows a sharply critical resignation letter by defense secretary of the president's foreign policy

12H ago

High school wrestler forced to cut off dreadlocks or forfeit match

Andrew Johnson, a wrestler at Buena Regional High School, opted to cut his hair and compete

11H ago

Idaho authorities cite "evidence" in case of missing Colorado mom

The body of Kelsey Berreth​ has yet to be found but authorities have arrested her fiance, Patrick Frazee​, on first-degree murder charges.

17H ago

Notable deaths in 2018

A look back at the esteemed personalities who've left us this year, who touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity

Dec 21 139 photos

Biggest stories of 2018, ranked

This year was a doozy. These were the top stories on CBSNews.com

Dec 6 55 photos

Yemen's humanitarian crisis

The nation's civil war has claimed at least 10,000 lives, and generated the world's worst humanitarian crisis

Dec 17 24 photos

The timeless photojournalism of Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington

"War and Peace in Liberia" is a new exhibition in New York City celebrating the work of two acclaimed war photographers, who were both killed in conflict zones

Dec 9 15 photos

2018 additions to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry

"The Shining," "Jurassic Park," "My Fair Lady" and "Brokeback Mountain" are among the classic films to be preserved for future generations by the Library of Congress

Dec 12 27 photos

Search for survivors intensifies after deadly Indonesia tsunami

Death toll nears 300, more than 1,000 hurt, dozens missing after tsunami that followed eruption of infamous Anak Krakatau volcano

updated 6M ago

Incoming chief of staff says "very possible" shutdown stretches into 2019

Senators say they still don't have a deal, and Trump is staying in town for Christmas

1H ago

Cruise ship rescues fishermen who were stranded for weeks

The sailors were saved Friday evening between Grand Cayman and Jamaica

5H ago

To Catch a Spy, Malta, The Wolves of Yellowstone

How a former CIA officer was caught betraying his country; then, inside the corruption allegations plaguing Malta; and, the return of wolves to Yellowstone Park

4H ago 43:37

Car crashes into crowded Ohio church, injuring 6

Firefighters said the six injured at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Columbus were treated for cuts and other injuries

6H ago

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg up and working after surgery

No information has been released on when Ginsburg might return home

6H ago