ISTANBUL (AP) — A strong earthquake struck Friday between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, collapsing several buildings in Turkey’s western Izmir province and causing some damage in Samos. There were reports of people trapped beneath rubble in Izmir.
Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said three injured people were pulled from the wreckage of a building in Izmir. Some damage was also reported on the Greek island of Samos, to buildings and the road network. The director of the hospital in Samos said four people were treated there for light injuries.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said the earthquake was centered in the Aegean at a depth of 16,5 kilometers (10.3 miles) and registered at a 6.6 magnitude. The emergency authority said it sent search and rescue teams to Izmir.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9, with an epicenter 13 kilometers (8 miles) north northeast of the Greek island of Samos. The United States Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.0. It is common for preliminary magnitudes to differ in the early hours and days after a quake. Multiple aftershocks struck the region.
Izmir mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk that about 20 buildings collapsed. The city is the third biggest in Turkey with about 4,5 million residents. Turkey’s interior minister tweeted six buildings in Izmir were destroyed. He said there were small cracks in some buildings in six other provinces.
The environment and urban planning minister, Murat Kurum, said people were trapped under the wreckage and rescue efforts were underway.
Videos posted on Twitter showed flooding in the immediate aftermath of the quake in Izmir’s Seferhisar district. Turkish officials and broadcasters called on people to stay off the streets after reports of traffic congestion.
Turkish media showed wreckage of a multiple-story building in central Izmir, with people climbing it to start rescue efforts. Turkish media showed at least one woman being helped from the rubble of a collapsed building. Smoke was filmed in several spots in central Izmir.
Turkish media said the earthquake was felt across the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including Istanbul. Istanbul’s governor said there were no reports of damage in the city, Turkey’s largest.
The quake was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as the Greek capital, Athens, and in Bulgaria.
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.
“It is an event that is evolving,” Lekkas said, adding that some damage had been reported in parts of Samos.
A tsunami warning was issued, with residents of the Samos area told to stay away from the coastline. Water rose above the dock in the main harbor of Samos and flooded the street.
Residents have also been told to stay away from buildings, as aftershocks continued to rattle the area. Local officials told state media there were reports of damage to buildings and part of the island’s road network.