KOS (Greece) • A powerful earthquake killed two people on the Greek holiday island of Kos yesterday, sending tourists fleeing into the streets and causing disruption in the nearby Turkish tourist hub of Bodrum.
A Turk and a Swedish tourist, aged 39 and 22 years respectively, died when the roof of a popular bar collapsed, Greek police said. Kos' port was put out of action and, across the strait, a small tsunami damaged vehicles parked near Bodrum's shore.
On Kos, around 115 people were injured, including tourists of various nationalities - 12 of them seriously. More than 350 people visited hospitals in Turkey, though most had only light injuries.
The quake struck at 1.31am (6.31am Singapore time), and many of Kos' tourists spent the rest of the night in the open as a precaution, hotel owners said.
"All of a sudden, it felt like a train was going right through the room," said German tourist Vernon Hausman. "I told my son, 'Looks like an earthquake, so let's get the hell out of here.'"
Greek authorities said the 12 people seriously hurt on Kos included tourists from Turkey, Sweden and Norway; four were transferred to Crete and three to Athens.
One person was in a critical condition, while a Swedish tourist lost a leg, the director of the hospital in Crete told Greek Skai TV.
Estimated number of people injured in the quake in Greece.
Estimated number of people injured in Turkey.
Kos' airport remained operational and Greek Deputy Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios flew there. But he said the main port was out of action. "Passengers on ferries have been rerouted to the islands of Nisyros and Kalymnos," he told Greek SKAI TV.
Turkish and Greek authorities put the magnitude at 6.3 and 6.6 respectively and reported several aftershocks, with one estimated at 5.1. The US Geological Survey located the epicentre of the main quake in the Aegean Sea, 10km south of Bodrum and about 16km east of Kos' main port.
Hotel owners in Bodrum told Turkish broadcasters that some tourists were checking out.
"It was a lucky escape and it could have been much worse," said personal trainer Issa Kamara at the Maca Kizi hotel in Bodrum's Turkbuku area.
Turkey's emergency authorities warned of aftershocks but said there had been no casualties or major damage there. Some power cuts were reported, and a minaret in the town of Islamkoy was said to have collapsed.
Turkey's location between the Arabian tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate renders it prone to earthquakes. In October 2011, more than 600 people died in the eastern province of Van following a 7.2-magnitude quake and powerful aftershocks.
In 1999, two massive earthquakes killed about 20,000 people in Turkey's densely populated north-west. The same year, a 5.9 magnitude quake killed 143 people in Greece.