Volcanic mountains

Tsunami in Tonga: Swells triggered by an underwater volcanic eruption damage docks and drift boats in coastal areas of SoCal

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) — Although there was no major damage from a tsunami wave triggered by an undersea volcanic eruption in the South Pacific on Saturday, some coastal areas in Southern California have definitely seen its effects.

In Ventura, the tsunami’s strong swell tore through a harbor and swept several boats with it.

“It was a 6ft tide in 30 minutes…At first I thought everything was falling back into place, but the docks took quite a bit of damage,” Dale Eagle said.

A harbor patrol boat was one of the casualties when the current and tide took over.

“The tide was so strong it jumped off the back of our deck and flooded the back deck,” said John Higgins, the Port Captain of Ventura. “The weight of the water, together with the pressure of the current, caused our boat to capsize at the dock.”

A tsunami advisory issued Saturday for the entire west coast of the United States has since been lifted, but the submarine eruption in the South Pacific triggered a tsunami that hit the island nation of Tonga. The swell and waves continued across the ocean, creating a dangerous current.

The extent of the damage to Tonga was not immediately clear, but a massive ash cloud blankets the island and the internet is down.

Locally, the wave destroyed a dock in Marina del Rey and set several boats adrift.

“A 40 or 50 foot sailboat in the dock, and another sailboat were all pulled out of the water and they were floating in my yacht club and my friend’s boat,” Anthony Lojac said.

Several Southern California beaches were closed on Saturday, but have since reopened.

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