At least fourteen people have been killed in western Turkey after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday afternoon, sending buildings crashing down on the country’s coast and on a nearby Greek island.
Like the one in the video below, at least 20 buildings in the Turkish city of Izmir alone were destroyed, the city’s mayor, Tunc Soyer said.
Images showed vehicles crushed under the buildings and people digging through the rubble in search of survivors.
More than 420 people have been injured in Turkey, the country’s disaster agency said, dozens of them saved by rescue teams using diggers and helicopters to search for survivors.
TV footage showed water flooding through the streets of Cesme and Seferihisarin in parts of the wider Izmir province, as well as on the Greek island of Samos, in what authorities are calling a “mini tsunami.” No tsunami warnings were issued.
Well I would say there was really a tsunami. Look at the video below:
Idil Gungor, who works as a journalist and runs a guesthouse in the town of Siğacik in Izmir province, said that the area was damaged more by the force of the water than the quake itself.
Her guesthouse, in a 100-year-old building, had been inundated and fish were swimming inside it, she said.
Shops in town have also been flooded and their goods damaged.
“Everybody is calm but shocked and we’re wondering what will happen, if there’s a second tsunami coming or not,” Gungor said.
Zeki Soysal, a resident in Izmir province, told CNN Turk that he made it out of his office building just in time before it collapsed.
“There was an older woman in the building but we saved her, she got out. There is another building close to this building. They are continuing to try to get the people out,” he said.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the tremor’s magnitude at 7.0, while Turkish authorities said it was 6.6.
The quake struck 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) northeast of the town of Néon Karlovásion on Samos, the USGS reported, at 1:51 pm Greek time (7:51 a.m. ET).
The quake lasted 15 seconds and jolted a large part of the region across the Aegean to the mainland.
But it hit at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers, the USGS reported, making its impact powerfully felt at ground level around the epicenter.
Authorities in both countries have reported dozens of aftershocks.
Izmir Governor Yavuz Selim Köşger called on residents to stay off the roads and refrain from using mobile phones unnecessarily so that emergency vehicles could reach affected areas and response teams could communicate effectively.
Deputy Mayor Giorgos Dionisiou told Greek media that some old buildings had collapsed on the island of Samos. The chief of Samos Hospital, Nikos Stefanis, said there had been only four minor injuries reported so far. There have been no reports of people trapped under rubble.
The country’s public broadcaster said the quake caused a mini-tsunami in the area. People have been told by Greek authorities to stay away from the shore and buildings, and to be on alert for high waves as aftershocks continue.