The following is a brief account of the Tsunami incident at Macaroni’s on Pagai Island, Mentawais, West Sumatra based on reports received directly from the crew of Freedom 3 who were involved first hand in the
situation. Time of writing is 16:00GMT on October 26, 2010.
Most important to note:
ALL PASSENGERS AND CREW OF FREEDOM 3 ARE SAFE AND ACCOUNTED FOR WITH NO
ALL PASSENGERS AND CREW OF MIDAS ARE SAFE AND ACCOUNTED FOR WITH SOME
UPDATE OCTOBER 27 2010: Freedom 3 is safely back in Padang.
“All Freedom 3 and Midas passengers are already on their way home or making arrangements to depart Indonesia at around 10pm on October 25, 2010, a large earthquake (estimated at 7.7 on the Richter Scale) hit off the Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra, Indonesia. At that time, our surfing charter boat, Freedom 3, as well as another surfing charter boat, Midas, were anchored in a bay inside the famous surfing break known as Macaroni’s on North Pagai Island. They were anchored close to the inner most shoreline with about 50 – 100 meters separating Freedom 3 from Midas, Midas being closest to shore and Freedom 3 being further out. Passengers and crew on both boats had eaten dinner, some were already in bed, and others were preparing to sleep or relaxing around their respective boats. It appears no one aboard Freedom 3 felt the earthquake though Captain Lee Clarke awoke without reason and went out on deck. A rush of white water surged through the bay and Freedom 3 was lifted and literally thrown into Midas; Freedom 3’s port forward hull (Freedom 3 is a catamaran) impacted the aft section of Midas, penetrating into Midas’ aft hull. The Crew of Freedom 3 was immediately on the deck assessing the situation, which was quickly determined to be caused by a tsunami. The aft section of Midas was seen to catch on fire. The exact cause of the fire is not known at this time though the impact quite obviously must have contributed to its ignition. Freedom 3 captain Lee Clarke, realizing what was happening, started the engines and put Freedom 3 into reverse, trying to avoid further impact with Midas, trying to get away from the fire which was beginning to scorch the bow of Freedom 3, and most importantly, trying to get the boat to deeper water as further tsunami surges pushed into the bay.
Meanwhile the captain of the Midas, Rick Hallet, called the alarm and got all his crew and passengers on deck, ordering them to throw any floating objects over the side and to abandon ship. By now, Midas had run aground on the beach and Freedom 3 was hitting bottom trying to pull away. Chris Love, the chef aboard Freedom 3, released (abandoned) the anchor chain and anchor (which had been hindering their escape). Midas’ passengers and crew had all jumped into the sea, and Midas was entirely engulfed in flames within several minutes of the start of the fire. Two of Midas’ passengers managed to get onto Freedom 3 before the captain was able to get the boat turned around and headed out of the bay towards the open ocean, pressing through more tsunami surges.
During this time, the remainder of Midas’ passengers were reportedly swept 100 meters plus inland by the surges and ended up climbing trees where they rode out further surges for as long as 2 hours. Freedom 3 pushed out to deep water where they began assessing damage and doing head counts. Once it was determined that the boat was not in imminent danger of sinking and all were accounted for, they returned to the mouth of the bay. By that time, another charter boat, D’bora, had answered the emergency call and was in the process of picking up the remainder of Midas’ passengers from the island.
Freedom 3 went to the nearby port of Sikakap to report the incident and further assess the damage and situation. They then returned to the Macaroni’s area to see if they could be of assistance. They found that the Macaroni’s Surf Resort had been severely damaged and abandoned. Midas had burned to the ground with nearly nothing remaining. They then returned to Sikakap where D’bora delivered the remaining Midas passengers and crew. Freedom 3, while sustaining some damage, but was determined to be fully seaworthy by the captain and left Sikakap on the evening of the 26th bound for Padang, West Sumatra, taking all passengers and crew of both Freedom 3 and Midas with them.
They are scheduled to arrive in Padang on the morning of the 27th. ALL PASSENGERS AND CREW OF FREEDOM 3 ARE SAFE AND ACCOUNTED FOR WITH NO INJURIES ALL PASSENGERS AND CREW OF MIDAS ARE SAFE AND ACCOUNTED FOR WITH SOME MINOR INJURIES. Reports also indicate that all guests and staff staying at the Macaroni’s land camp are safe and accounted for, having ridden out the tsunami and then trekked over to the nearby village of Silabu before being picked up by another charter boat, though we have not directly confirmed this.”