From BBC news:
It is not the first time that a major seismic event in Indonesia has made front-page news around the world. In the 1880s, close to the epicentre of this Boxing Day's earthquake, huge waves crashed into countries all around the Indian Ocean. It was the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa.
Like earthquakes, volcanoes form at weak points in the Earth's crust
A German, the manager of a quarry, wrote his recollections of being swept away.
He was carried off the top of his three-storey office building at the summit of a 30m high hill.
The tsunami that roared in from the sea that Monday morning in 1883 must have been 40m high, at least.
He recalled being carried along on the wave's green unbroken crest, watching the jungle racing below, paralysed with fear.
Then suddenly to his right, he saw, being swept along beside him, an enormous crocodile.
With incredible presence-of-mind he decided the only way to save himself was to leap aboard the crocodile and try to ride to safety on its back.
How he did it is anyone's guess, but he insists he leapt on, dug his thumbs into the creature's eye-sockets to keep himself stable, and surfed on it for 3km.
He held on until the wave broke on a distant hill, depositing him and a presumably very irritated croc on the jungle floor.
He ran, survived, and wrote about the story.