ISTANBUL (AP) – A strong earthquake in the Aegean Sea rocked Turkey and Greece. Several buildings were sunk in Turkey’s western province of Izmir, officials said, but no immediate information was available on the casualties.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management President said Friday’s quake was concentrated in the Aegean at a depth of 16.5 km (10.3 miles) and registered at an magnitude of 6.6. Emergency authorities said they had sent search and rescue teams to Izmir.
The Central Europe-Mediterranean seismic reported the quake had an initial magnitude of 6.9, with an epicenter of 13 km (8 miles) northeast of the Greek island of Samos.
The US Geological Survey sets the intensity at 7.0.
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Turkish media revealed the wreckage of a multi-storey building in central Izmir, with people climbing it to initiate rescue efforts. Turkish media have shown that at least one woman has been helped from the rubble of a collapsed building. Smoke was filmed at some point in central Izmir.
Izmir Mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk that about 20 buildings collapsed. Third largest city in Turkey with about 4.5 million inhabitants. The Turkish Interior Minister tweeted that six buildings in Izmir had been destroyed. He said there were small cracks in several buildings in six other provinces.
Izmir̵7;s governor said there was no immediate information on the casualties.
The earthquake was felt across the Aegean and Marmara regions, including Istanbul, Turkish media reported. The governor of Istanbul said there were no reports of damage in the city.
The earthquake was felt throughout the eastern Greek islands and even in the Greek capital Athens. Greek media said residents of Samos and other islands had left their homes, while several rock landslides have been reported. No casualties have been reported.
Turkey and Greece have reported aftershocks. The earthquake was also felt in Bulgaria.
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Greek seismologist Efthymios Lekkas told Greek state broadcaster ERT that it is too early to say whether this is a major earthquake, although he says it is likely.
“It’s a growing event,” Lekkas said, adding that some damage was reported in areas of Samos.
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Tsunami warnings have been issued, with residents of the Samos area being told to stay away from the coastline. Water rises above the dock in Samos’s main harbor and floods the streets.
The regional governor of the Samos region, Yiannis Stamoulis, said no injuries were reported on the island. Residents have also been asked to stay away from the buildings as aftershocks continue to shake the area.