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SYDNEY - NINE Australian surfers are alive and well after going missing following a 7.7-magnitude earthquake and tsunami which left hundreds dead and missing in Indonesia, officials said on Wednesday.
Australia's foreign department said the nine on board the Southern Cross tour boat had lost mobile signal but contacted relatives late Tuesday, adding they did not even notice the convulsion which pummelled western islands.
'We have confirmed the safety and welfare of the nine Australians on board the tourist vessel, the MV Southern Cross,' a statement said. 'Those on board the Southern Cross were unaware that the earthquake and tsunami had taken place,' it added.
Surfaid International said the boat's captain Chris Scurrah, who runs a tour business in the area with several charter vessels, would now help rescue efforts in the Mentawai islands where entire villages were swept away.
'He's now working with the response. He's very experienced and knowledgeable and has boats, and that's what we need right now,' the charity's founder Dave Jenkins told AFP.
At least 112 people were killed and hundreds are missing after the disaster, which coincided with a volcanic eruption on Indonesia's main island of Java which left 13 people dead.
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