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South Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami Devastates Branson Families

Last week’s earthquake and tsunami that struck the South Pacific has not only shaken up families in the Pacific but also some here in the Ozarks. Several cast members of Branson’s Island Fire show have been personally affected and KSMU’s Katie Easley has the report on what they are doing to move forward.

According to various news reports around 150 people died after an earthquake and tsunami hit the South Pacific. The Saoleititi family in Branson lost their two year old son who was staying with his grandparents in American Samoa. “It got to us from Samoa that there had been an earthquake and that they were given an hours warning to leave and go for hire grounds. But what we didn’t know that while the warning was given the tsunami was already hitting the south side of the island,” says Dutton.

That’s Bella Dutton, spokeswoman for the Island Fire show in Branson where the Saoleititi family works. Dutton has family in Samoa that survived this natural disaster.“I called my family they were moving to hire ground but then I also started calling other performers to see how their families were doing. When I called Rachel and Iefata they just started crying and said that the body of their son was missing, and they don’t think he made it,” says Dutton.The Saoleititi family also lost two other family members. The Island Fire Show is donating all funds raised from tomorrow's (October 3rd, 2009) show towards plane tickets so the family can go back to Samoa. “Tomorrow we are having the fund raiser it’s going to be the Island fire show but it’s a benefit show to help raise money first and foremost for the young couple whose 22 months old son was killed by the tsunami and it is to help them get back home to bury him,” says Dutton.Any extra money will go towards rebuilding the Saoleititi’s family village in American Samoa. You can get information on tomorrow’s show by calling 417-332-2772. For KSMU News, I’m Katie Easley.