Chilean Resort Town Pelluhue Washed Away in Tsunami

Pelluhue is a Chilean resort town with 1,000 inhabitants.


A view of the debris on the shore near Pelluhue after the earthquake and tsunami yesterday. (Reuters)

A view of debris on the coast, close to the epicentre of the Chilean earthquake that generated waves flooding many towns to the north and south, in Pelluhue. (Reuters)


From the Chilean blog Bread Crumbs (translated), via Newsolio:

Some findings verbatim of our conversation:

  • “She cut the bridge Mariscadero”
  • “The coastal road to Pelluhue Curanipe is torn, filled with debris, you can not pass”
  • “In a bus grandparents came when 47 people hold the sea, rescued 20 of the others do not know”
  • “A car Wave take it with a person inside, the guy saved”
  • “The sea is reflected in and out, the water is cloudy and full of sticks”
  • “The trucks and cars from the people down below, walk on the waves”
  • “In the sea are refrigerators, toilets”
  • “Today (27/02) was sunny all day with tremendous heat, then entered a very thick fog at sea”
  • “at night the full moon lighting the way”
  • “the rock of the turret, and which is next, the wave slowed down a bit, but to the south, hit them at full speed”
  • “Pelluhue has nothing, is a town that’s dead”
  • – According to my old, witnessed the entry just before the tsunami, said:
  • “The noise was deafening, the first wave was 10 feet, was impressive to see the advancing speed”

The Wall Street Journal had more on the destruction in Pelluhue:

Several seaside resort towns were severely hit by the quake and ensuing waves. Such was the fate Pelluhue, and its roughly 1,000 residents.

“The earth started shaking so violently that we couldn’t stand,” said Maria Julia Aguilar, who was vacationing with her husband in Pelluhue. They struggled to their feet and fled by car into the hills above the town. She said the air was filled with the tidal waves’ loud crushing of houses along the shoreline.

In one spot, the waves had harpooned 70-foot-high Cypress trees into beachfront homes, while washing other houses up onto the mountainside above the beachfront town. Plywood and housing materials littered the coast and floated offshore.

When Aguilar returned to the site shortly after dawn, she saw four bodies half-buried in the sand.

Residents said a series of waves started to reach shore shortly after the 8.8 magnitude quake struck at 0634 GMT Saturday. The first waves hit about five minutes after the quake, while the biggest one slammed into the town about an hour later.

Clara Lepe was asleep in her beachfront home when the quake jarred her awake. She fled with her husband and two daughters, racing away from the beach in their four-wheel drive vehicle. In the panic, Lepe said two cars crashed head-on as panicked residents tried to get away from the shore.

“People were going crazy,” she said with tears in her eyes. “It was utter chaos.”

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