Tsunami Panic as Big Quakes Hit Indian Ocean

A 8.6-magnitude earthquake and powerful aftershocks struck in waters off Indonesia Wednesday, sending residents fleeing from buildings in several countries and raising fears of a deadly tsunami. Tsunami alerts were issued across the entire Indian Ocean after the first quake was followed by a magnitude-8.2 aftershock and several smaller temblors. The alerts were later lifted and small tsunami waves of around three feet in height were reported to have hit the western coast of Sumatra island, Reuters reported. According to U.S. Geological Survey data, the initial quake was centered 14 miles beneath the ocean floor around 270 miles from the capital of Banda Aceh at 2:38 p.m. local time. In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake in Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed almost 230,000 people, most of them in Aceh.

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