Magnitude 6.4 quake strikes Greece, with tremors felt as far as Jordan
The under-sea quake caused an immediate injury in Greece, according to local police, as cited by the AP. Further injuries were reported by Greece's neighbors as panic-stricken residents fled homes.
There are reports of people feeling tremors all the way in Turkey, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Initial reports by the USGS reported a 6.4 magnitude, while the Institute of Geophysics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki put the strength at 6.3. The epicenter was estimated to be between Samothraki and Lemnos. Local police in the latter city report a part of the airport's ceiling has collapsed, which caused the one injury - a British female tourist.
"It lasted very long and it was very intense. We haven't got the full picture of the damage caused yet," the city's mayor, Antonis Chatzidiamantis, told Mega TV.
Local media report that the quake was felt in many major parts of Greece, both in the south and the north, in Athens and Thessaloniki. Aftershocks reportedly hit 6.7 in Turkey's Istanbul, Izmir and Canakkale, as hundreds in the western parts fled their homes, fearing structural collapses. A video has been uploaded by Turkish media, depicting the panic.
Some 20 people were hospitalized due to shock in the city of Gökçeada. "I was on the beach. Rocks started to shake. They were moving under out feet. We ran away. It took 20-25 seconds," one resident told the Hurriyet newspaper. Other minor injuries have been reported as well.
— Hurriyet Daily News (@HDNER) May 24, 2014
Turkey’s Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said that 270 people were hospitalized. While most were only suffering from minor injuries or shock, the number also included one person in critical condition who jumped from a balcony in Balıkesir’s Edremit district, Hurriyet Newspaper reports.
Another 30 people in the seaport town of Canakkale and five more in Tekirdag, on the northern coast of the Sea of Marmara, were reportedly injured after jumping out of their apartment windows.
No injures or damages have been reported in Istanbul.
Weak aftershocks from the tremor were felt as far as the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, as well as in parts of Jordan.
While the primary quake in Greece was taking place, Israeli authorities and media reported their own quake, which took place less than two houea prior to the Greek one. It was reported to be a minor 4.1 event, but people were reported to feel the shakes all across Israel.
The event took place in a seismically active region, where instances are quite common. Greek seismologists told local media that aftershocks topping 5.0 magnitude are to be expected shortly, telling the local Ant1 TV that this can certainly be classed as a "severe" quake.
The last such earthquake was in August 2013 - a 5.1 that struck about 125km north of Athens, with witnesses reporting tremors in the capital.
The country does face occasional shakes, but they are usually not very powerful. However, 1999's 5.9 event was quite devastating, killing 143 people. Part of the same seismic zone, Turkey was in the same year battered by a terrifying earthquake that claimed 20,000 lives in the densely populated north-west.