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Oct 26, 2010 8:28 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Death toll climbs from Indonesia quake, tsunami

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Officials and witnesses say a powerful earthquake off western Indonesia that triggered a tsunami has killed at least 23 people. More than 160 others are missing.

The death toll from the magnitude 7.7 quake is expected to climb, with reports about damage and injuries starting to trickle in.

The head of the Health Ministry's crisis center says a 10-foot-high wave washed away hundreds of houses in two coastal villages on part of a sparsely populated island chain called Mentawai.

Some Australian surfers say they were on their chartered vessel when the tsunami hit, smashing them into another boat. They say fire then ripped through their cabin.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. The fault that ruptured Monday also caused a 9.1 quake that triggered a monster tsunami in 2004, killing 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

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