>> The death toll in a major Indonesian earthquake and tsunami may reach the thousands. Towering waves devastated the island of Sulawesi after the quake struck on Friday. Many of the victims were swept away. By Sunday, hundreds had been confirmed dead, but the vice president expected that number to rise sharply.
Rescue teams are scrambling to dig out people trapped underneath what's left of the city of Palu. Dozens there are reported to still be alive under the rubble of two hotels and a mall. One survivor told Reuters she narrowly escaped as the mall folded in around her.>> I'd just finished shopping and went to the cashier.
Suddenly, everything got dark and the walls started falling around us, it was horrible. I rushed to a broken escalator with my daughters and we made it outside.>> Authorities have confirmed grim images from Saturday of body bags lined up in the streets. Damaged roads are slowing down rescue efforts and the military is sending in cargo planes to rescue survivors.
And that's just Palu, the wave struck a wide stretch of coastline after it moved in at speeds of 500 miles per hour. Officials are bracing for far worse accounts of death and destruction as outlying areas report in. They'd heard little from Donggala, a fishing town north of the city, it was far closer to the epicenter and home to 300,000 people.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly struck by earthquakes. However, questions will likely be asked about why Indonesia's warning systems appear to have failed on Friday. Hundreds of victims had been on the beach for a festival when the tsunami warning sounded, but didn't immediately leave.
The country's weather agency says they issued the warning but lifted it 34 minutes later. Officials said they estimated the waves had hit while the warning was still in effect.