More horror stories are emerging from the Indonesian earthquake as Irish travelers join those evacuating the islands of Lombok and Gili.
Irish newlyweds Aoife O’Donoghue and Jenna Mehigan have described as “surreal” the experience of having their Indonesian honeymoon shaken by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. The natural disaster has killed over 100 people and injured hundreds more.
On Sunday night, the couple was enjoying their honeymoon on paradise hideaway Nusa Lembongan, an Indonesian island which lies between Bali and Lombok, when their hotel was rocked by the Indonesian earthquake.
“Last night we felt the big 7.0 one here. In our wooden hut rocking side to side on the coastline. Immediately got outside,” O’Donoghue told the Irish Sun.
“A few hours later after all seemed OK, we were having dinner and there was a big after-shock felt here.
Hundreds of people evacuated from Indonesia's Gili Islands after magnitude 7.0 earthquake off the north coast of nearby Lombok left at least 91 people dead and hundreds more injured. https://t.co/2R0yYM7dER pic.twitter.com/6l018ov1IQ— ABC News (@ABC) August 6, 2018
“Our restaurant just gave us the bill and said they’re closing early, lots of locals were panicked saying in their lifetime they haven’t felt anything like it.
“We had all the tsunami warnings and got to higher ground which thankfully was just a precaution. All incredibly surreal and only sinking in today.”
The quake devastated the nearby island of Lombok, which had just experienced a 6.4 magnitude earthquake several days beforehand in which 17 people were killed. The couple, from Cork but now living in the UK, has said that the experience has far from ruined their honeymoon, however.
At least 91 people were killed and hundreds were injured after a powerful earthquake hit resort islands in Indonesia. pic.twitter.com/DViqwLozmV— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 6, 2018
“Definitely hasn’t ruined the honeymoon,” O’Donoghue added.
“Like I said, it’s been much worse for a lot of people . . .
“We’re just stopping by in the grand scheme of things and whole towns are ruined.
“Death toll has risen on Lombok to 142 so we’re just thankful again. Bali and its airport has had some damage too so we are staying put as we know the area here now, and the highest land points, and have booked extra nights — as we can’t get to Gili now. We’ll see what happens in next few days.”
Up to 50 Irish travelers were also evacuated from the Gili Islands, three islands which lie a few kilometers off the northwest coast of Lombok, which was also heavily hit. Patricia Mulraney, 25, and her friend Leona Reynolds were traveling by boat to the larger Gili Trawangan Island when the earthquake struck, almost being flung into the water.
"As we were in the speedboat, heading to the island, a giant wave hit us and it nearly tipped over our boat. It was very scary. We didn't know that it was an earthquake and just thought it was a very bad storm," Mulraney said.
"The driver asked us to get off and into the water and we had to swim to the shore. It was an absolutely chaotic situation. The locals were screaming and shouting and we had no idea what was going on."
Running to higher ground with a tsunami warning still in place, Mulraney and Reynolds, who had traveled to Indonesia on July 29, described the panic on the island as rumors of a stronger earthquake to hit on Monday night began to spread.
#breaking Dramatic video of people scrambling to evacuate from Gili Trawangan Island, Indonesia. 6.9 quake killed at least 91, injured 200+ & left 20,000 homeless in Bali & Lombok. Thousands of buildings damaged. At least 132 aftershocks. (📹 Sutopo Purwo Nugroho) pic.twitter.com/OzKuEhKQEz— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) August 6, 2018
"More than 20 locals were all trying to pile into one single, small boat. People were literally fighting and pulling on each other to get on the boat and throwing others into the water," Mulraney added.
"The injured were meant to get on the boats first. One of the men was pushed off a boat even though he had a head injury and was in a wheelchair. I was on the phone with my Mom and all she could hear was screaming in the background.
"One boat had docked and within a second it was sinking because there were so many people who were trying to get on it. There were people hanging on the side of the boat. One woman was trampled on.”
After waiting for seven hours, the pair succeeded in getting into a boat which took them to Bali for a flight back to Abu Dhabi, where Reynolds now lives.
In all, about 4,600 tourists have been evacuated from the islands.