Quake jolts Greek, Turk­ish re­sorts, kills two, hurts 500

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - MICHAEL PROBST, DEREK GATOPOULOS AND ZEYNEP BILGINSOY

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 rev­ellers 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 6.5-mag­ni­tude quake struck 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 café ta­bles.

Au­thor­i­ties on Kos said the two dead tourists were from Swe­den and Turkey. Thir­teen oth­ers in­jured were air­lifted to other Greek hos­pi­tals, in­clude a for­eign na­tional who had to have a leg amputated and an­other with lifethreat­en­ing head in­juries.

In neigh­bour­ing Turkey, au­thor­i­ties said some 350 peo­ple were hurt, most with light in­juries as they fled build­ings.

Seis­mol­o­gists said the shal­low depth of the quake was to blame for the dam­age and a 60 cen­time­tre sea swell that scat­tered cars, boats, and trash bins across shore­lines in the east Aegean Sea.

Hun­dreds of rev­ellers 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.

Christo­pher Hack­land, a Scot­tish div­ing in­struc­tor, de­scribed the chaotic scene at his ho­tel 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 said.

“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 trans­ported 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 seafront ho­tels and restau­rants and sent moored boats crash­ing to­ward the shore.

The Istanbul-based Kandilli earth­quake re­search cen­tre said the small “tsunami” pushed sea wa­ter up 100 me­tres in­land.

MICHAEL PROBST, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rub­ble lies out­side a bar where two peo­ple were killed in an earth­quake on the is­land of Kos, Greece. Greek au­thor­i­ties said the peo­ple who died were tourists from Turkey and Swe­den.

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