Tsunami swept away fleeing bus full of retirees
The 40 retirees enjoying summer vacation at a seaside campground nestled under pine trees knew they had to move fast after Chile's powerful earthquake struck.
The ruins of homes, television sets, clothes, dishwaters and dead fish cover the town's black sand beaches.
"We ran through the highest part of town, yelling, 'Get out of your homes!'" said Claudio Escalona, 43, who fled his home near the campground with his wife and daughters, ages 4 and 6. "About 20 minutes later came three waves, two of them huge, about 6 meters (18 feet) each, and a third even bigger. That one went into everything."
"You could hear the screams of children, women, everyone," Escalona said. "There were the screams, and then a tremendous silence."
After the quake rocked the gritty port town of Talcahuano, Marioli Gatica and her extended family huddled in a circle on the floor of their seaside wooden home, listening to the radio by a lantern's light.
They heard firefighters urging citizens to stay calm and stay inside. They heard nothing about a tsunami -- until it slammed into their house with an unearthly roar. Gatica's house exploded with water. The family was swept below the surface, swirling amid loose ship containers and other heavy debris that smashed buildings into oblivion all around them.
"We were sitting there one moment and the next I looked up into the water and saw cables and furniture floating," Gatica said.
Two of the giant containers crushed Gatica's home. A third grounded between the ocean and where she floated, keeping the retreating tsunami from dragging her and other relatives out to sea.
Miles inland along a river valley, cows munched next to marooned boats, refrigerators, sofas and other debris.
When a small convoy of armored vehicles drove along a downtown street, bystanders applauded, shouting: "Finally! Finally!"http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100302/ap_ ... earthquake