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Buildings were violently shaken, and the Customs-house, a concrete building, was considerably damaged. Residences and stores suffered, but to a less extent. Many subsidences occurred, one near the principal stores being about 30ft square.
The earthquake reached its maximum in the mountains of the interior. The ground was agitated like the waves of the ocean, acres of trees were uprooted, and masses of rock hurled down the mountain sides.
This was followed by a tidal wave, the full force of which was experienced on the side opposite to Apia. It was severely felt on Alerpata, the coast of Lolofaga, Savaii. and Pagopago. The tide was dead low, but the sea swept over the beach into the adjacent native houses, carrying everything before it.
The inhabitants fled terror-stricken to the hills. The Mormon Church at Pagopago was demolished. The wave was almost spent on reaching Haapai, but it caused the loss of several cutters, and flooded shops and dwellings.
A phenomenon of the heavens was witnessed in Wellington at 10.55 p.m. on Saturday. At that hour the air was still, cold, and foggy, no stars being visible. Suddenly the whole of the south-western sky was lit up by a bright bluish glare more sustained than a flash of lightning and covering evenly a great arc of the heavens.
This was repeated at least four times, attracting the attention of a large number of people who were out of doors at the time. It is assumed to have been some kind of electrical disturbance, probably a long way off. It will be interesting to learn if the phenomenon was witnessed elsewhere in New Zealand or at sea.
Wounded arrive at Port
A steamer arrived at Port Chalmers yesterday, bringing 75 wounded and invalided soldiers from Egypt, as well as a corporal and a private from France. The men from Egypt served in the fight at Gaza as mounted infantry, and most of them are disabled by wounds, there being few cases of sickness on board.
The adjutant, Lieutenant R. E. J. Martin, speaks very highly of the men's conduct on the voyage, the monotony of which was broken by games and concerts, to which the captain and crew of the vessel gave all the assistance in their power.
There were originally four cot cases, but two improved in health during the voyage. Another soldier contracted pneumonia, and these three men will undergo treatment at the Dunedin Hospital.
Bounty on deserters
According to our Wellington correspondent authority has been given in a district order for the payment of a reward not exceeding 1 to any member of the New Zealand Police Force for the apprehension of a deserter from the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
The reward will also be paid to any member of the New Zealand Police Force for the apprehension of a deserter from concentration if arrested on a warrant signed by a group commander. The reward is not payable where the deserter voluntarily gives himself up to the police authorities. Claims are to be submitted to District Headquarters for pre-audit prior to payment.
- ODT, 17.7.1917.
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