At least 40 killed, 600 hurt after tsunami hits Indonesia

At least 40 killed, 600 hurt after tsunami hits Indonesia

At least 20 people died when a tsunami hit beaches around Sunda Strait in Indonesia on Saturday night, the government's Disaster Mitigation Agency said.

Some 600 people have been reported injured when the tsunami hit about 9:27 p.m. Saturday, the Disaster Management Agency said.

Scientists say the tsunami could have been caused by the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island formed over years from the nearby Krakatau volcano.

The national disaster agency says the tsunami has affected an area between Serang and Pandenglang, which is on the very western tip of Java. Dozens of buildings were damaged. The death toll is likely to increase.

Volcano photographer Oystein Andersen posted on Twitter that he was on the beach observing the Krakatoa after explosions earlier in the evening when the waves came.

The Anak Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait that links the Indian Ocean and Java Sea erupted about 24 minutes before the tsunami, the geophysics agency said.

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"I was at the beach and saw the waves", he wrote. "Next wave entered the hotel area where i was staying and downed cars on the road behind it".

It also cited tidal waves caused by the full moon.

Videos posted on social media showed flooded streets, an overturned auto and people running up stairs to escape the waves.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because it lies on the Ring of Fire - the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

Although relatively rare, submarine volcanic eruptions can cause tsunamis due to the sudden displacement of water or slope failure, according to the International Tsunami Information Centre.

Lava streams down from Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) on July 19, 2018.

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