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1 Missing, 4 Rescued As Tsunami Hits West Coast

Update at 3:24 p.m.:

The Coast Guard is searching for a man swept out to sea in Northern California while taking pictures of tsunami waves.

Nearby, authorities in Brookings, Ore., say four people have survived after a tsunami surge swept them off a beach in Curry County and into the sea.

The five were on the beach Friday to watch the waves generated by a massive earthquake in Japan. The Curry County sheriff's department says two were able to get out of the water on their own, and two were rescued by law enforcement and fire officials.

Update at 1:24 p.m.:

Waves from a tsunami caused surges along California's coast that shook some boats loose from docks, as beach-area residents evacuated to higher ground.

The tide began rising shortly after 7:30 a.m. in Crescent City, near the Oregon border, where the tsunami was expected to hit the hardest in California.

By mid-morning, waves crashed against the bluffs, as residents gathered on the overlooks to watch. The California Highway Patrol estimated about 35 boats in the harbor were damaged.


Tsunami waves hit Hawaii in the early morning hours Friday and were sweeping through the island chain after an earthquake in Japan sparked evacuations throughout the Pacific and as far as the U.S. western coast.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Kauai was the first of the Hawaiian islands hit by the tsunami. Waves about 6 feet high were recorded on Maui, and 3 feet in Oahu and Kauai.

Officials warned that the waves would continue and could become larger, but a scientist at the tsunami warning center said it didn't appear that they would cause major damage in Hawaii.

"But there is going to be some damage, I'm sure," said geophysicist Gerard Fryer in Hawaii.

Waves are predicted to hit the western coast of the United States between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. EST Friday.

Residents living in low-lying areas along the Oregon coast are also evacuating.

In Tillamook County, Oregon, residents living within a half-mile of the beach were urged to seek higher ground. There have also been evacuations in parts of Gearheart, Seaside and elsewhere in the state.

Oregon state officials say traffic was heavy on U.S. 101 near Florence early Friday because of people seeking higher ground.

Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a statement urging Oregonians along the coast to listen to warnings and follow instructions from public safety officials.

Sheriff's deputies and firefighters in Washington's Grays Harbor County were knocking on doors in low-lying areas of the small coastal community of Moclips, handing out tsunami warning fliers and urging residents to evacuate.

The flier warns "This is not a drill," adding that an initial tsunami wave of around 3 feet is forecast for the area Friday morning after a massive earthquake in Japan. And the flier adds, "Following waves are expected to be larger."

In Pacific County, Washington, the sheriff says an orderly evacuation is happening in Long Beach, Ilwaco and Ocean Park.

The tsunami, spawned by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan, slammed the eastern coast of Japan, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control. It raced across the Pacific at 500 mph - as fast as a jetliner - and could keep that speed until it hits a large land mass, though the waves roll into shore at normal speeds.

This program aired on March 11, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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