A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook Alaska’s Aleutian Islands last night, triggering a tsunami warning that sent people heading for high ground before the alert was cancelled.
Hundreds of people walked, drove and rode in the back of pickup trucks as they fled the coast after the earthquake struck 80 miles northeast of the seafood port of Dutch Harbor, home to some 4,400 people.
The temblor struck at 7:10pm local time (0300 GMT Friday), triggering a tsunami warning from the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WCATWC).
Sirens rang out, officials ordered people to move to at least 50 feet above sea level, and fishing boats could be seen steaming out of the harbour as a precaution in case waves strike the coast line.
“Those feeling the earth shake, seeing unusual wave action or the water level rising or receding may have only a few minutes before the tsunami arrival and should move immediately,” warned the WCATWC.
“Homes and small buildings are not designed to withstand tsunami impacts. Do not stay in these structures,” officials warned.
But about an hour later it was all over. “We’ve confirmed that no wave has been generated,” acting public safety director Matt Betzen said at 8:21pm (0421 GMT). “We’re giving the all-clear.”