Quake rocks Greece, Turkey

Beach re­sorts struck; two tourists die; in­jured peo­ple top 500

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - SYL­VAIN PLAZY AND COSTAS KANTOURIS In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Me­nalaos Ha­ji­costis, Zeynep Bil­gin­soy and Derek Gatopou­los of The Associated Press.

KOS, Greece — The num­ber of peo­ple in­jured in an earth­quake that shook beach re­sorts early Fri­day in Greece and Turkey, killing two tourists when a build­ing col­lapsed on a bar in the Greek is­land of Kos, rose to nearly 500.

Only a few miles apart, Kos and the Turk­ish re­sort of Bo­drum were hit hours be­fore dawn by the shal­low un­der­sea quake that caused a 2-foot sea swell and havoc among res­i­dents and thou­sands of va­ca­tion­ers at bars and restau­rants.

The U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey mea­sured the quake’s mag­ni­tude at 6.7, with Greek and Turk­ish es­ti­mates a frac­tion lower.

“It was shock­ing, ter­ri­fy­ing,” Kos res­i­dent Vas­silis Me­gas said. “The whole house shook back and forth. Peo­ple ran out into streets. We did, too, and stayed out all night.”

Two men — from Turkey and Swe­den — were killed when a col­laps­ing wall smashed into White Cor­ner Club, a bar in the “old town” area of Kos. Sev­eral oth­ers were se­ri­ously in­jured and air­lifted to larger hos­pi­tals in Greece; one per­son had to have a leg am­pu­tated, and an­other had life-threat­en­ing head in­juries, doc­tors said.

Many of the other in­juries oc­curred when tourists and res­i­dents scram­bled out of build­ings and even leapt from bal­conies. Hun­dreds of rev­el­ers were in the White Cor­ner Club at the time.

“It was shak­ing a bit, and I was like, ‘OK.’ Then ev­ery­thing. I saw the bar just float­ing around and drinks fly­ing all over the place. I saw peo­ple freez­ing and then run­ning out, push­ing,” said Linda Lund­gren, who works at a nearby bar.

“I saw every bar­tender jump­ing over the bar,” she said.

The quake oc­curred in the midst of Greece and Turkey’s sum­mer tourism in­dus­try. Af­ter­ward, many peo­ple spent the night out­side, sleep­ing on sunbeds and at cafes.

Most of the in­juries, about 350, oc­curred in Turkey, in Bo­drum and other beach re­sorts, as peo­ple fled build­ings and as the sea swell flung cars off the road and pushed boats ashore.

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

“For the strength of this earth­quake, fol­lowed by so many af­ter­shocks, the dam­age was ac­tu­ally quite lim­ited. Most peo­ple have been cleared to re­turn home,” said Greek seis­mol­o­gist Efthymios Lekkas, who led a gov­ern­ment in­spec­tion team on Kos.

In Kos, the quake dam­aged churches, an old mosque, the port’s 14th-cen­tury cas­tle and old build­ings in the 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,” Kos Mayor Gior­gos Kyrit­sis said, not­ing that a deadly earth­quake in 1933 had flat­tened the is­land’s main town.

Turk­ish com­pa­nies pro­vided ad­di­tional flights and fer­ries to Kos to re­turn cit­i­zens home af­ter the earth­quake.

AP/MICHAEL PROBST

Rub­ble sits out­side a bar where two peo­ple were killed af­ter an earth­quake Fri­day on the is­land of Kos, Greece.

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