Three or four villages on the popular tourist coast near the southern town of Lalomanu on Samoa's main island of Upolu had been "wiped out" by waves that roared ashore early Wednesday.
The Samoan government has not yet confirmed fatalities. Officials in neighboring American Samoa say at least 14 people have been killed there.
AT least four Australians are missing after the Indonesian earthquake, which has killed at least 1100 people and possibly buried thousands more.
Rescuers and survivors are picking through the rubble of collapsed buildings searching for anyone still alive under piles of concrete, steel and other debris. Hospitals, hotels, houses and schools were among the estimated 500 buildings which toppled when the 7.6-magnitude quake struck on Wednesday night (AEST) off the coast of Sumatra.
Trapped survivors are screaming for help while authorities rush in supplies to help. Mothers are waiting outside collapsed schools, refusing to give up hope that their children are alive.
The surfing mecca Padang was closest to the epicenter of the first quake. A second, measuring a 7.0 magnitude, struck on land 225km south-southeast several hours later, as authorities were scrambling to deal with the aftermath of the first.