Greek capital Athens hit by 5.1-strong quake and aftershocks, panicked residents seen running out to streets

The Athens Institute of Geodynamics indicated the preliminary magnitude as 5.1 but the U.S. Geological Survey said it was a 5.3 quake on the Richter scale


                            Greek capital Athens hit by 5.1-strong quake and aftershocks, panicked residents seen running out to streets

ATHENS

A strong 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit the Greek capital of Athens, causing residents to run out to the streets and open spaces in fear.

The Athens Institute of Geodynamics indicated a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 but the U.S. Geological Survey gave it 5.3. The Athens institute said the quake struck at 2:13 p.m. local time, about 26 km (13.7 miles) north of Athens. 

The shock was caught live in the studios of state broadcaster ERT. The Civil Protection Authority said there was no immediate word on injuries or damage, but police and volunteers north of the capital were carrying out searches to locate anyone who could be trapped in elevators or other places. The fire brigade reported receiving calls about people being trapped in building elevators. The quake also sparked limited power cuts around Athens. 

Gerasimos Papadopoulos, a senior seismologist at the Athens institute, said Friday’s quake was felt across southern Greece. “It had a very shallow depth and that’s why it was felt so strongly,” he said. “It is too early to say whether this was the main earthquake, but there have been aftershocks of magnitude 3.5, 2.5, and 3.2 and that is encouraging. But we need more time and data to have a clear picture.”

Earthquakes are common in Greece and neighboring Turkey. The most powerful quake to hit the Greek capital in the past 20 years was in 1999 when a temblor of magnitude 6.0 caused extensive damage and killed more than 140 people.

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