Quake jolts Greek and Turkish resorts, killing 2 and injuring hundreds
Tourists and residents on the Greek island of Kos find rubble-strewn streets and damaged buildings the morning after a strong earthquake struck the region.(Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP/Getty Images)
A pier at the main port on the Greek island of Kos was cracked apart by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck the region.(Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency workers attend to a person injured in an earthquake on the Greek island of Kos.(Costs Metaxakis / AFP/Getty Images)
Tourists wait outside the airport terminal on the island of Kos on July 21, 2017, after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the region.(Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP/Getty Images)
The remains of a bar where two people were killed when the earthquake struck Kos.(Michael Probst / Associated Press)
A church damaged in the earthquake on the Greek island of Kos.(Giannis Kiaris / EPA)
A man looks at a jumble of damaged boats lifted ashore and left on a beach when a small tsunami caused by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit Bodrum, Turkey.(AFP / Getty Images)
A car damaged by the overnight earthquake in Bodrum, Turkey.(Yasar Anter / Associated Press)
Supermarket shelves were left in shambles by the earthquake on the Greek island of Kos.(Giannis Kiaris / EPA)
People stand outside damaged buildings in a street filled with rubble after an earthquake on the Greek island of Kos.(AFP / Getty Images)
A powerful overnight earthquake shook holiday resorts in Greece and Turkey, injuring nearly 500 people and leaving two tourists dead on the Greek island of Kos, where revelers at a bar were crushed in a building collapse.
Some of the injuries were caused as tourists and local residents scrambled out of buildings and even leapt from balconies after the magnitude 6.5 quake struck Friday at about 1:30 a.m. local time.
Several hundred thousand vacationers and locals in the two countries were kept awake by dozens of aftershocks that followed the main quake, with many sleeping outdoors on sunbeds or slumped on cafe tables.
Seismologists said the shallow depth of the quake was to blame for the damage and a 2-foot sea swell that scattered cars, boats and trash bins across shorelines in the eastern Aegean Sea.
Authorities on Kos said the two dead tourists were from Sweden and Turkey. Hundreds of revelers were in or near the popular White Corner Club — housed in a renovated building dating to the 1930s — in the old town of Kos when the building partially collapsed.
Thirteen others injured were airlifted to Greek hospitals, including a foreign national who had to have a leg amputated and another with life-threatening head injuries, officials said.
In neighboring Turkey, authorities said about 350 people were hurt, most with light injuries sustained as they fled buildings.
Christopher Hackland, a Scottish diving instructor, described the chaotic scene at his hotel in Kos when the quake struck.
“There was banging. There was shaking. The light was swinging, banging on the ceiling, crockery falling out of the cupboards, and pans were making noise,” he told the Associated Press.
“There was a lot of screaming and crying and hysterics coming from the hotel. It felt like being at a theme park with one of the illusions, an optical illusion where you feel like you’re upside down.”
Turkey sent a vessel to Kos to bring some 200 Turkish tourists home, and named the dead tourist as Sinan Kurdoglu. The foreign ministry said a second national in serious condition was being evacuated to Athens for treatment.
The quake on Kos damaged churches, an old mosque, and the port’s 14th century castle, along with old buildings in the town — but the damage was relatively limited.
Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis said strict building codes have been in force for decades following a deadly earthquake in 1933 that flattened the island’s main town.
“There are not many old buildings left on Kos. Nearly all the structures on the island have been built under the new codes to withstand earthquakes,” the mayor said.
Before dawn rescue teams with sniffer dogs searched the rubble in the town while dozens of villages were also checked — but found no more injured people.
The quake caused cracks on walls of some buildings in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, flooded the lower floors of sea-front hotels and restaurants and sent moored boats crashing toward the shore.
The Istanbul-based Kandilli earthquake research center said the small “tsunami” pushed sea water up 100 meters (yards) inland.