Surfers Survived Tsunami On Resort's Upper Floor

(AP)

Sebastian Carvallo was showing surfing videos to fellow guests on his last night at an island resort off western Indonesia when the powerful earthquake struck. When he heard a distant roar two minutes later, he knew instantly that he had to run.

The Chilean surfer grabbed his computer and his camera, rounded up the other guests and rushed to the highest spot they could find: the third floor of the thatch-roofed beach resort.

From that vantage point overlooking the lagoon, Carvallo and the others had a terrifying front-row seat Monday night as three towering waves of a tsunami struck, shaking the building so violently they thought it would collapse.

It was there they huddled together and rode out the waves that killed at least 400 people in the Mentawai island chain off about 80 miles (130 kilometers) off Sumatra.

""It was noise and chaos. You can hear the water coming, coming, coming,"" Carvallo, 29, said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.

""And then before the second wave hit the building, everyone was screaming and when the wave hit the building you could only hear people praying,"" he said.

A videographer, Carvallo managed to shoot the frenzied moments of panic inside the Macoroni Surf Resort on North Pagai.