Highlights

  • Undersea volcano erupts near the Pacific nation of Tonga
  • Volcanic eruption in the Pacific triggers huge waves
  • Islanders rush to higher ground as the ocean rushes in

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Volcano erupts near Tonga, islanders rush to escape tsunami

Satellite images showed a huge eruption, a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters.

An undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific nation of Tonga on Saturday, sending large tsunami waves crashing across the shore and people rushing to higher ground.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or the extent of the damage as communications with the small nation remained problematic.

Video posted to social media showed large waves washing ashore in coastal areas, swirling around homes and buildings.

Satellite images showed a huge eruption, a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a mushroom above the blue Pacific waters.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was in effect for all of the archipelago, and data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre showed waves of 80 cm (2.6 feet) had been detected.

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