DENPASAR (AFP) – Tourists fled their hotels in panic on Bali on Wednesday (March 22) after the popular Indonesian holiday island was rattled by an early morning earthquake.
The 5.5-magnitude quake struck inland about 10 kilometres north-east of the Balinese capital, Denpasar, and not far from the concentration of holiday resorts in the south of the island. There were no reports of casualties and damage after the quake struck just after 7am local time (2300 GMT Tuesday) at a depth of 118 kilometres, but some holidaymakers got a shock. The quake magnitude was earlier reported to be 6.4.
“Dozens of our guests ran out of their rooms when the quake happened,” Nyoman Pasek, a staff member at the Hotel Sayang Maha Mertha in the popular tourist area of Kuta, told AFP.
“Everything is now under control again, back to normal.” Carla Beharry, a Twitter user on the island, wrote: “Definitely felt the biggest EARTHQUAKE I’ve ever felt this morning in Bali.”
Local residents also said the quake briefly caused panic on the neighbouring holiday island of Lombok. National disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the quake was felt strongly in the capital Denpasar for five seconds. Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.
Media reports said residents and tourists ran towards higher ground, but calm resumed after text messages were sent out indicating that the quake was unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
Indonesia frequently experiences quakes as it is located along the earthquake-prone Pacific Ring Of Fire.