Missing woman was rescuing dogs when swept away in Tongan tsunami

·4-min read

Concerns are growing for a missing British woman who hasn't been heard from since a tsunami hit the Kingdom of Tonga after a massive volcanic eruption on Saturday.

Angela Glover, 50, was separated from her husband James during the Tongan tsunami.

The couple, who own Happy Sailor Tattoo in the capital Nuku'alofa, had gone to get their dogs when the wave hit. James reportedly managed to cling to a tree but Angela and their dogs were washed away.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted late on Saturday afternoon, causing a tsunami and covering much of Tonga in ash.

Angela, who has been missing since Saturday's tragic tsunami,  smiling at camera.
Angela went missing after the tsunami hit Tonga on Saturday. Source: Facebook

Family desperately seeking information

Friends and family of Angela are desperately searching for her, posting on social media asking anyone with information to contact them.

"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," her niece wrote.

Angela's mother Jennifer, who lives in the UK, received a phone call on Sunday afternoon (AEDT) from James confirming that she is still missing.

"The search continues," a friend of the family wrote on Facebook. "This is beyond devastating to write and share on social media and I do apologise for such a heartbreaking update.

Angela Glover wearing sunglasses with hair out holding a dog and smiling at camera.
Angela Glover helped thousands of dogs on the island. Source: Instagram

"Nothing confirmed other than at this stage our beautiful girl is missing. We are hoping and praying that amongst the devastation she is found.

"Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by this disaster.

"I’m in close contact with her family and will continue to update when I have further news."

Communication lines damaged in Tonga

The tsunami has caused severe damage to communications in Tonga, making it difficult for people to check the safety of loved ones.

There was confirmation on Monday morning the fibre-optic cable connecting Tonga to the world has been damaged and phone and internet services in the island kingdom could be out for weeks. It will mean significant delays in the reporting of casualties from the tsunami.

The Hunga-Tonga volcano erupted on December 20 before exploding again on Friday in an eruption seven-times more powerful.

Water seen gushing over land from tsunami.
A wall of water smashed over Nuku'alofa's waterfront. Source: Twitter/Dr Faka'iloatonga Taumoefolau

After Friday’s eruption, Angela posted to Instagram saying there was an "eerie silence" on the island and there was a tsunami warning in place.

"I’m not kidding you.... this is the sunset today after the volcano exploded last night," she captioned a photo of a fiery sunset. "We’ve been under tsunami warnings today.

"Everything’s fine... a few swells ....a few eerie silences...a wind or two...then silence...sudden stillness... electric storms.”

It was her final post before Saturday’s major eruption.

The couple have lived in Tonga for five years

Angela, a former television producer, and James, a tattooist, moved from London to Tonga in November of 2016, opening a tattoo parlour in 2017.

Yahoo News spoke to Angela a year ago, who spoke of her passion for animals and her mission to help Tonga’s growing population of homeless dogs.

Angela is a founder of the Tongan Animal Welfare Society (TAWS), an organisation that helps dogs that would have no access to veterinary services.

“I am a huge animal lover and always wanted to rescue animals from an early age,” she told Yahoo in January 2021.

Angela Glover and her husband James standing outside tattoo parlour in Tonga smiling.
Angela Glover and her husband James outside their tattoo parlour in Tonga.

“Over the first 2 years here people got to know my love of dogs and helping any way we could....and word spread - I became 'the dog lady’!"

A local Facebook page called Humans In Tonga profiled the couple in 2018 where they both gushed about their life on the island.

“Life is different here for us. It's more like back home when I was little, it's about family and caring for each other," James said. "Tonga still keeps that value of love and respect. That's one of the things that pulled me here."

"It's a very different lifestyle. And we love it here."

Angela said their plan was "to stay here as long as we can."

"Tonga is like a hidden gemstone in the world," she said. "It's just beautiful."

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