8 Jan 2004

Cook Islands hammered by huge seas

11:42 am on 8 January 2004

The Cook Islands have been battered by huge swells even as the Cyclone Heta passed some 5-hundred kilometres away.

Two tourists who had been staying at the Rarotongan Sunset resort were treated in hospital for minor injuries after being dashed to the ground by a massive wave.

Most hotels were forced to shift visitors to inland rooms as resorts were flooded and beachfront restaurants filled with driftwood and debris.

Residents on the west coast of Rarotonga were trying to save their possessions after houses were flooded by the huge swell.

Cyclone Heta has now passed to the far south-east of Niue and dwindled to gale-force winds.