A strong earthquake struck Friday in the Aegean Sea between the west coast of Turkey and the Greek island of Samos, collapsing buildings in the city of Izmir in western Turkey, and officials said at least six people were killed and scores were injured.
A small tsunami struck the Seferisar district of Izmir, said Haluk Ozener, director of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute. At least four people were slightly injured on Samos, where a tsunami warning was issued.
Six people were killed in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, including one who drowned, and 202 were injured, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD.
Izmir Gov. Yavuz Selim Kosger said at least 70 people had been rescued from the wreckage. He said four buildings were destroyed and more than 10 collapsed, while others also were damaged.
Search and rescue efforts were continuing in at least 12 buildings, AFAD said.
Turkish media showed wreckage of a multiple-storey building, with people climbing it to start rescue efforts. Smoke rose from several spots.
Videos on Twitter showed flooding in the Seferhisar district, and Turkish officials and broadcasters called on people to stay off the streets after reports of traffic congestion.
AFAD said Friday’s earthquake was centred in the Aegean at a depth of 16.5 kilometres and registered at a 6.6 magnitude. The emergency authority said it sent search and rescue teams to Izmir.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9, with an epicentre 13 kilometres north northeast of the Greek island of Samos.
The United States Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.0. It is common for preliminary magnitudes to differ in the early hours and days after a quake.
Turkish media said the earthquake was felt across the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including Istanbul. Istanbul’s governor said there were no reports of damage in the city.
Turkey sits on top of two major fault lines and earthquakes are frequent. Dozens were killed in an earthquake in January, mostly in Elazig province. Two strong earthquakes struck northwest Turkey in 1999, killing around 18,000 people.
Greek island residents flee
The quake was felt across the eastern Greek islands and even in the Greek capital Athens. Greek media said the residents of Samos and other islands fled their homes, while some rockfalls were reported. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Turkey and Greece reported aftershocks. The quake was also felt in Bulgaria.
Greek seismologist Efthymios Lekkas told Greek state television ERT that it was still too early to say whether this was the main earthquake, although he said it likely was.
“It is an event that is evolving,” Lekkas said, adding that some damage had been reported in parts of Samos.
A tsunami warning was issued, with residents of the Samos area told to stay away from the coastline. Water rose above the dock in the main harbour of Samos and flooded the street.
The regional governor of the Samos region, Yiannis Stamoulis, said no injuries had been reported on the island. Residents have also been told to stay away from buildings, as aftershocks continued to rattle the area.