The father of an Australian surfing guide missing after a powerful undersea earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia says he hopes his son is simply out of mobile phone range.


Chris Scurrah, formerly of Melbourne, was the skipper on board the Sumatran Surfariis charter boat Southern Cross when the 7.7-magnitude quake hit Kepulauan Mentawai, off Sumatra’s west, on Monday night.

A staff member of the Padang-based company has told AAP the Southern Cross has not made contact since the quake.

On board are Chris Scurrah, his fellow skipper Akinori Fujita from Japan, and eight other Australians.

Hal Scurrah said he had yet to hear from his son but hoped to have contact soon.

“My feeling is that he’s possibly out of range, and hopefully he’s all well,” Mr Scurrah told AAP.

“I keep watching news, and I keep trying to text him or contact him on Facebook. He’ll have a laptop with him. The powerful undersea earthquake struck a popular surfing area in Indonesia’s west.

At least two killed

At least two people were killed when waves hit the coast, officials said.

“Two dead bodies have been found in Sipora island. Several people are still missing in Bosua village and we are searching for them,” said Health Ministry Crisis Centre head Mudjiharto.

He said waves up to three metres high hit South Pagai island.

“Eighty per cent of buildings in Muntei village have been damaged by the waves and many people are missing there,” Mudjiharto said.

Medical personnel were on their way to the hard-hit areas.

Aussies’ boat close to epicentre

Surfaid’s Mentawai Islands Program Manager Tom Plummer earlier confirmed the boat was missing.

“It was close to the epicentre,” he told AAP.

“There are genuine fears.”

Mr Plummer said he was also hearing reports of tsunami damage to local villages.

“We’re getting reports that a lot of locals are injured and missing after a wall of water came into low-lying villages,” Mr Plummer said.

SurfAid founder Dave Jenkins said there had been a “significant tsunami” on the west of the area’s southernmost islands.

“We have unconfirmed reports of people being swept away and missing,” Dr Jenkins told AAP.

“There’s definitely been damage.

“The tsunami went into the main surf locality of Macaroni Bay.”

Dr Jenkins said SurfAid was trying to charter a plane to search the area for the missing boat.