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March 1st, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Chilean Navy blamed for not sounding tsunami alarm

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="On Sunday, passers-by observe the remains of a destroyed building in Concepcion, Chile's hardest-hit major city."]

Concepcion, Chile (CNN) - Chile's defense minister has blamed the Navy for not issuing a tsunami warning after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the South American country.

Such a forewarning could have allowed villagers on the coast to flee to higher ground.

Of the 708 reported dead, 541 died in Chile's Maule region, and 64 in the Bio Bio region, both on the coast.

"The truth even if it hurts [is that] a division of the Navy made a mistake," Minister Francisco Vidal said.

After the quake initially struck, President Michelle Bachelet said a tsunami was unlikely.

More than 50 countries posted tsunami warnings, and Chilean authorities later realized the large waves that slammed coastal areas were tsunami-generated.

"What we saw between the sixth and the ninth region is a tsunami," Vidal said.

The Navy has an emergency system under which captains in each port may issue warnings when sea levels begin to rise. FULL STORY

Filed under: World
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Mitt

    BBC and other international organizations are showing mass lootings of properties and stores in Chile. Why is CNN not showing the disorder in Chile? CNN was eager to show poor Haitians looting in Port-au Prince because they always enjoy portraying minorities negatively. Please be fair and show all sides of the story because looting occurs during disaster no matter where.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  2. David

    How could that Republican deny millions of unemployed their continued benefits. I have been searching for a job for 2 years with no success. I have been living on my unemployment benefits and need them to continue in order to live. Without the benefit, I will end up on the streets. I am so distressed as I am sure are millions like me.

    March 1, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  3. Johnny Bush

    Good Morning Kiran and Christine. Both presenting the news professionally and look great, however, tell John we miss his unique balance.
    Have a Wonderful!

    March 1, 2010 at 8:41 am |