Fisherman Joni Sageru, 30, recalled being jolted awake by the quake and running outside to hear screams to run to higher ground on his island of Pagai Selaton.
“First, we saw sea water recede far away, then when it returned, it was like a big wall running toward our village,” Sageru said. “Suddenly trees, houses and all things in the village were sucked into the sea and nothing was left.”
Indonesian disaster response officials believe the final death toll from the huge wave that hit the Mentawai island chain off the west coast of Sumatra Monday could pass 600.
Almost 13,000 people are living in makeshift camps on the islands after their homes were wiped out in the wave, which was triggered by a powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake.