Cut off by volcano, Tongans relieved as contact restored
BANGKOK (AP) — As the massive undersea Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on Saturday, Tongans from around the world gazed on as their relatives livestreamed images of billowing clouds of ash, gas and steam emerging from beneath the depths. Then darkness. The eruption severed Tonga's single fiber-optic cable, rendering the entire Pacific archipelago offline and unable to communicate with the rest of the world — and leaving their loved ones terrified about what might have happened. “It was absolutely crazy,” said Koniseti Liutai, a Tongan who lives in Australia. “We were talking with family and relatives, because they were excitedly showing us the volcano's activities, then we heard the explosion and the big bang and everything went dark,” he said.