A two-metre-high tsunami crashed into beach resorts and fishing villages on Indonesia's Java island yesterday, killing at least 86 people, leaving scores more missing and sending thousands fleeing to higher ground.
Regional agencies issued bulletins saying a magnitude 7.7 earthquake that had struck beneath the Indian Ocean was strong enough to send a killer wave hurtling toward Indonesia, the country worst hit by the 2004 tsunami.
But the alerts did not reach the victims because the densely populated island - where a powerful quake killed thousands just seven weeks ago - does not have a tsunami warning system.
The hardest-hit area appeared to be Pangandaran, an idyllic beach resort long popular with local and foreign tourists, where witnesses said people shouted "tsunami, tsunami," and climbed trees.
The extent of damage further up the coast was not immediately clear, with some roads blocked and power and phone lines cut.