ATHENS • A strong earthquake struck the Greek island of Crete yesterday morning, killing a man who was working in a church that collapsed and injuring 11 others, officials said.
The quake, measuring magnitude 5.8 according to Greece's seismological observatory, sent residents rushing into the streets and damaged buildings on Greece's largest island. It struck 23km from the Crete capital of Heraklion.
"So far, one man is dead and 11 people are in hospital suffering mostly from fractures," said a spokesman from the National Centre for Emergency Care.
Mr Spiros Georgiou, spokesman for the civil protection agency, had earlier said nine people were slightly injured in the farming town of Arkalochori, which was particularly badly hit. He said the man died in a small church that collapsed in the town.
Images on ERT public television showed old buildings that had collapsed in Arkalochori and surrounding villages near Heraklion.
"It's an earthquake that we did not expect, for the moment there are aftershocks of 4.5," ANA news agency quoted Mr Efthymis Lekkas, the head of Greece's quake protection agency, as saying.
The Athens observatory said the quake's epicentre was 346km south of the Greek capital and at a depth of 10km. Greece is located on a number of fault lines and is sporadically hit by quakes.