Strong earthquake strikes eastern Aegean

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The quake struck just off coast of west Turkey on the Greek island of Samos in the eastern Aegean Sea, about 11 miles off the coast of western Izmir, at 1.51pm local time.

The Deputy Mayor of Eastern Samos said multiple buildings had collapsed in the area according to local news outlets. 

He also reported large waves. 

The quake was so powerful it also rocked the Turkish city of Izmir with shocking footage and pictures showing rubble after the collapse of multiple buildings. 

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the tremor was felt as far away as Athens and Istanbul. 

Reports also said tremors were felt on the Greek island of Crete. 

President of Samos hospital workers described the scenes of panic. 

He told SKAI: “A few minutes ago we experienced a very big earthquake similar to that Samos has been experiencing for many years. People are panicking. They have gone out in the squares, in the streets. It was an earthquake that lasted several minutes. Very strong.”

There were also unconfirmed reports of rockfalls on Chios, while the powerful earthquake, which was felt some 300 kilometers away in Athens and has been given a magnitude of 7 Richter by the European and American seismological agencies – a bit higher than the National Observatory of Athens’ revised reading of 6.7 Richter – also affected Kos and other islands in the area.

Greek seismologist Efthymios Lekkas told Greek state television ERT that it was still too early to say whether this was the main earthquake, although he said it was likely it was.

The earthquake appears to have struck nearby Turkey especially hard, with the state-run Anadolu Agency reporting that five buildings have collapsed or been badly damaged in the seaside town of Izmir and people are trapped in the rubble.

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