After 8.7 Earthquake, 6 provinces under evacuation order
Thailand Tsunami: Phuket tourists report sea water has receded by 200 meters from the beach
According to eTN Sources in Phuket, no devastating tsunami hit the Thai coastline. Local authorities warned tourists in Phuket to only consider going down to the coast when no major waves have hit 2 hours after the estimated arrival time.
Olivier Dombey observed from Phuket "The first waves on Kata Beach. But nothing serious so far."
Martijn Rosdorff reported from Phuket at 1747 hours local time, "My wife spotted two 'big tsunami waves rolling in' at Patong Beach just now!" (1747 local time)
A Phuket tour operator and tourism officials confirmed all hotels had moved guests to higher ground.
Another eTN reader observed a relative small wave of 4-5 meters that hit at 1816 hours local time.
More reports are coming in stating the water receded - no major damages are visible at this time.
ETN readers are reporting helicopters were circling the coast line.
Another reader told eTN about a huge wave coming in slowly on the horizon, but nothing much happened on the coastline.
Readers from Krabi observed local villagers to be taken to schools for prayers. A visitor from the UK commented on the beautiful sunset from up the hill in Krabi.
Earlier, a tsunami warning and evacuation order were issued by disaster prevention authorities in the southern Thai provinces of Phuket and Phangnga on Wednesday after a huge earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia.
"The province has turned on the warning sirens and asked people all over Phuket island to move to a safe place," an official from the Phuket Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre told Reuters by telephone. The Phuket airport closed as a precaution.
An official from the warning center, Phangnga, told Reuters: "We warned people in every district to evacuate immediately, because there is a possibility of a tsunami."
Phuket and Phangnga are provinces popular with tourists and were among those hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 5,000 people in Thailand.
The order, following a warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, was aimed particularly at people in the tourist provinces of Phuket, Krabi, and Phangnga, which are high risk, to evacuate to high ground far away from the seashore.
The other three provinces on the western coast are Satun, Trang, and Songkhla, but they are at less risk.
The massive earthquake was felt in many parts of Thailand, including Bangkok.
Telephone signals were reported to have been disrupted in some areas.
Smith Dhammasaroj, former Chief of the Meteorological Department, said a tsunami could possibly hit the six provinces on the western coast this evening.
Somsak Khaosuwan, Director of the National Disaster Warning Centre, said waves about one meter high would possibly reach Phuket at about 5:40 pm.
For the sake of safety, people living along the western coastline are advised to evacuate immediately, he said.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand insisted that the Egat dams remain strong following the strong earthquake.