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Beaches closed after tsunami alert

Melissa Richardson and Maylee Wade enjoy a swim at Nielson’s Beach after the tsunami warning was lifted yesterday afternoon.
Melissa Richardson and Maylee Wade enjoy a swim at Nielson’s Beach after the tsunami warning was lifted yesterday afternoon. Darryn Smith

BUNDABERG beaches were off limits to swimmers for most of yesterday after a deadly earthquake in Chile sparked a tsunami warning for the east coast of Australia.

Surf Lifesaving Queensland regional manager Craig Holden said local beaches were not open in the morning with Elliott Heads and Agnes Water staying closed even after the threat was lifted.

The warning was issued on Saturday night for Double Island Point and upgraded to include the Bundaberg coast later.

Mr Holden said while lifeguards warned swimmers of the dangers of the tsunami, many stayed in the water.

“People were generally good, but we did have a couple of vocal ones who did not want to listen,” he said.

“The sun was shining and there were great conditions so they weren’t too bothered.”

Darren Black headed to the beach after the threat had lifted and said he was not concerned about the warnings.

“I’m not worried,” he said.

“I heard about it this morning, but I don’t think anything will come of it. If the earthquake had happened a bit closer I would have been a lot more worried.”

Bureau of Metrology forecaster Michelle Berry said, while the Bundaberg coast only experienced a very minor fluctuation, the Gold Coast saw a 20-centimetre wave with Norfolk Island copping a 50cm wave.

“This may not sound like too much, but tsunami waves are very powerful,” she said.

“Bundaberg experienced some unusual currents and waves as a result of the quake.”

Mr Holden said Kelly’s, Nielson Park and Moore Park beaches reopened to swimmers at 3.45pm, while Agnes Water and Elliott Heads remained closed.

“It was too dangerous to open these beaches regardless of the tsunami warning,” he said.

“The low tides and rocks were causing havoc. It’s always better to stay on the side of caution.”

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