'I am hoping... but I think it will be a body recovery': Brother of British charity worker who was on the beach as Tongan tsunami hit and swept her and four of her dogs away while her husband clung to a tree reveals he will never see her alive again

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Angela Glover, 50, is missing in Tonga after a tsunami triggered by an underwater eruption hit the island She clung to a tree with husband James as wave hit, and while James managed to hold on she was swept away Brother Nick Eleini says rescue teams are still looking for her, but he is not expecting her to be found aliveFour of the couple's five dogs were also swept away by the wave, with only one found alive so far 

The brother of a British charity worker who is missing in Tonga after a tsunami triggered by a ‘once-a-millennium’ underwater volcanic eruption smashed the island believes she has been killed. 

Angela Glover, 50, was last seen Saturday by husband James near their home in the town of Veitongo as it was hit by a wall of water. The pair clung to a tree for safety and while James was able to hang on, Angela was swept away along with four of the couple’s five dogs.

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Rescue teams are currently scouring the hard-hit Pacific island for survivors but Nick Eleini, Angela’s brother who lives in Australia, says he is not expecting her to be found alive. One of the couple’s dogs has been found alive, but there is still no sign of Angela. 

‘It’s 48 hours [since she was last seen] – look, I’m not holding out much hope,’ he told New Zealand media. ‘I think it’s going to be a body recovery rather than finding her. But I’m hoping, you know, it’s all I can do.’

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The underwater Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted late Saturday local time (Saturday morning GMT) setting off tsunami waves that crossed the Pacific and blanketed the surrounding islands in thick ash. 

Describing Angela as ‘a great, fun girl’ who was ‘lovely to be around’, Nick revealed she had worked in advertising in London before moving to Tonga with James in 2015 where she began working for an animal charity. James was a tattoo artist, and owned a studio on the island.  

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Angela and James had been walking four of their five adopted dogs (pictured) when the wave hit. James and Angela clung to a tree for safety and while James managed to hold on, Angela was swept away along with the dogs

Angela and James had been walking four of their five adopted dogs (pictured) when the wave hit. James and Angela clung to a tree for safety and while James managed to hold on, Angela was swept away along with the dogs

Angela Glover, 50 (left), is missing from the island of Tonga after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by an underwater volcano eruption. She was last seen near the home she shared with husband James (right) as the wave hit on Saturday

Angela Glover, 50 (left), is missing from the island of Tonga after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by an underwater volcano eruption. She was last seen near the home she shared with husband James (right) as the wave hit on Saturday



Nick Eleini, Angela's brother, has said rescue teams are still scouring the island for her but he is fast losing hope that she will be found alive (pictured, Angela and husband James)

Nick Eleini, Angela’s brother, has said rescue teams are still scouring the island for her but he is fast losing hope that she will be found alive (pictured, Angela and husband James)

Angela worked in the advertising industry in London before moving to Tonga in 2015 with husband James, a tattoo artist, and began working at an animal sanctuary

Angela worked in the advertising industry in London before moving to Tonga in 2015 with husband James, a tattoo artist, and began working at an animal sanctuary



Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcanco erupted. Pictured: Satellite images of the volanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcanco erupted. Pictured: Satellite images of the volanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday


Nick spoke to New Zealand’s 1News from an airport, as he flies from his home-town of Sydney to the UK so he can support their mother while the family waits for news about Angela.

Much of Tonga’s communications network was destroyed in the tsunami, meaning updates from the island have been infrequent. No deaths have yet to be confirmed from the disaster, but that is expected to change once signal has been restored.

The news came as Australia and New Zealand both made efforts to send aid and reconnaissance planes to the region. It remains unclear how many people were killed in the eruption and subsequent flooding.

Former Londoner Angela, who works for an animal charity, emigrated to Tonga five years ago.

On Sunday she took to social media to comment on the eruption, saying her home was under a tsunami warning. It is believed the waves hit minutes later.

Tattooist James is believed to have been able to cling to a tree but Angela, who runs a dog rescue centre on the island and several of her animals were swept away.

Her friend Donna Head posted on Facebook: ‘Ange is still missing.’

She added: ‘We must be optimistic and pray for a miracle… I’m trying to process that this beautiful happy face is missing.

‘I shall continue to update when I have further news.’

She finished with the hashtag #prayforAnge.

Another post read: ‘My uncle held on to a tree but my Auntie and dogs were washed away.

‘My uncle still hasn’t been able to find my Auntie. If anyone has any information please reach out.’

As the search continued, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged his country would supply aid to Tongans as soon as possible but added the ash cloud was adding to the logistical problems.

‘There’s been a lot of challenges there with the ash cloud and the disruption to communications and so we are working together to get as much support to Tonga as we possibly can,’ Morrison said.

Australia’s Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja said initial reports suggested no mass casualties and that Tonga’s airport ‘appears to be in relatively good condition’ but there were ‘significant damage’ to roads and bridges.

Seselja said Australia was liaising with the United States, New Zealand, France and other countries to coordinate responses.

New Zealand’s Defence Minister Peeni Henare said at a news conference in Auckland that power had been restored in large parts of Nuku’alofa and some communications are back up.

A New Zealand Hercules C-130 would perform drops of essentials after the requirements are assessed and the navy will also be deployed.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday that the tsunami had a significant impact on infrastructure.

Red Cross said it was mobilising its regional network to respond to what it called the worst volcanic eruptions the Pacific has experienced in decades.



The eruption is the latest explosion on the islands in the past month after days of volatility on Tonga, which has seen smaller eruptions before

The eruption is the latest explosion on the islands in the past month after days of volatility on Tonga, which has seen smaller eruptions before

The volcanic eruption let out a huge plume of ash and has reportedly created a new island, although communications remain down on Tonga

The volcanic eruption let out a huge plume of ash and has reportedly created a new island, although communications remain down on Tonga

A satellite image shows the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai with a plume of smoke rising from it, days before the eruption
The volcano two hours before its eruption in Tonga
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Left: A satellite image shows the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai with a plume of smoke rising from it, days before the eruption. Right: The volcano two hours before its eruption in Tonga.


‘Red Cross has enough relief supplies to support 1,200 households with essential items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits,’ said Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation told Reuters.

She said the agency is expecting up to 80,000 people to be affected by the tsumani

‘That is what we are planning for as a worst-case scenario until we can get further confirmation from the people on the ground,’ she said.

The agency said there were concerns that communities may not have access to safe drinking water as a result of saltwater inundation caused by the tsunami waves and ashfall.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades but the impact of Saturday’s eruption was felt was far away as Fiji, New Zealand, the United States and Japan. Two people drowned off a beach in Northern Peru due to high waves caused by the tsunami.

Early data suggests the volcanic eruption was the biggest blast since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, New Zealand-based volcanologist Shane Cronin told Radio New Zealand.

‘This is an eruption best witnessed from space,’ Cronin said.

‘The large and explosive lateral spread of the eruption suggests that it was probably the biggest one since about the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo,’ Cronin said.

‘This is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years,’ he added. ‘We could be in for several weeks or even years of major volcanic unrest from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano. 

Satellite images showed a huge eruption, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising above the sea. A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska.

The Tonga Meteorological Services said a tsunami warning was declared for all of the archipelago, and data from the Pacific tsunami center said waves of 2.7 feet were detected.

Across the Pacific on California’s central coast, the National Weather Service reported tsunami waves up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) and flooding in beach parking lots at Port San Luis. About 200 miles (320 km) down the coast, the waves were much smaller at Southern California’s Seal Beach, according to Michael Pless, the owner of M&M Surf School.



Tonga volcano eruption as seen from Himawari-8 of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Hundreds of frightened Tongans fled to higher ground as the eruption triggered a tsunami in the island nation, with a four-foot wave observed in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa

Tonga volcano eruption as seen from Himawari-8 of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Hundreds of frightened Tongans fled to higher ground as the eruption triggered a tsunami in the island nation, with a four-foot wave observed in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa

Locals pleaded for people to 'pray for us' as the eruption was compared to 'bombs going off' by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore

Locals pleaded for people to ‘pray for us’ as the eruption was compared to ‘bombs going off’ by those who heard it, followed by the tsunami surging ashore

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday

In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday


Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, who chairs the New Zealand Tonga Business Council, said she hoped the relatively low level of the tsunami waves would have allowed most people to get to safety, although she worried about those living on islands closest to the volcano.

She said she hadn’t yet been able to contact her friends and family in Tonga.

Some churches in New Zealand organised community prayers in Auckland and other cities.

‘We pray God will help our country at this sad moment. We hope everybody is safe,’ Maikeli Atiola, the Secretary of the Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Auckland said, Radio New Zealand reported.

Ms Ardern said the main undersea communications cable has been impacted, likely due to loss of power.

Power was being restored in some areas on the islands and local mobile phones were slowly starting to work, she added.   

One complicating factor to any international aid effort is that Tonga has so far managed to avoid any outbreaks of Covid-19.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand’s military staff were all fully vaccinated and willing to follow any protocols established by Tonga.

The Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano is located about 40 miles north of the capital, Nuku’alofa. In late 2014 and early 2015, a series of eruptions in the area created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

There is not a significant difference between volcanoes underwater and on land, and underwater volcanoes become bigger as they erupt, at some point usually breaching the surface, said Hans Schwaiger, a research geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

With underwater volcanoes, however, the water can add to the explosivity of the eruption as it hits the lava, Schwaiger added.

Before an explosion, there is generally an increase in small local earthquakes at the volcano, but depending on how far it is from land, that may not be felt by residents along the shoreline, Schwaiger said.

In 2019, Tonga lost internet access for nearly two weeks when a fiber-optic cable was severed. The director of the local cable company said at the time that a large ship may have cut the cable by dragging an anchor. Until limited satellite access was restored people couldn’t even make international calls.

Southern Cross Cable Network’s Veverka said limited satellite connections exist between Tonga and other parts of the world but he did not know if they might be affected by power outages.



People look at a damaged boat in a marina at Tutukaka, New Zealand, after waves from a volcano eruption swept into the marina

People look at a damaged boat in a marina at Tutukaka, New Zealand, after waves from a volcano eruption swept into the marina

A car is caught in rising water at Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday as tsunami flooding strikes low-lying areas

A car is caught in rising water at Santa Cruz Harbor on Saturday as tsunami flooding strikes low-lying areas

A tsunami has struck Tonga sending terrified locals fleeing for high ground as huge waves crashed over roads and into homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

A tsunami has struck Tonga sending terrified locals fleeing for high ground as huge waves crashed over roads and into homes (pictured, tsunami waves begin to overwhelm coastal homes in Tonga on Saturday)

Locals had little warnings as the huge waves came ashore
Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of the surging waves making land and crashing through homes and cars

Locals took to social media to share dramatic videos of the surging waves making land and crashing through homes and cars (pictured, still images from video filmed in Tonga and posted to social media on Saturday)


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