Athens earthquake: Strong tremor felt in Greek capital causing people to run into streets

Tremor measured 5.1 on Richter scale

People flee into streets after strong earthquake in Athens

A strong earthquake has been felt in the Greek capital of Athens, causing people to run out into the streets.

The tremor measured 5.1 on the Richter scale, according to the Athens Institute of Geodynamics, but the US Geological Survey gave it a preliminary magnitude of 5.3.

The quake was "strong but fortunately not very long", according to one witness quoted by the European Earthquake Monitoring Centre.

Two people were lightly injured by falling debris, health ministry officials said. There were no reports of damage to buildings, and the city's ancient Acropolis complex was intact, according to authorities.

In the port city of Piraeus, an abandoned structure on a port quay collapsed.

Witnesses said people were gathering on the streets, after the quake, which occurred at 2.13pm local time and was caught live in the studios of state broadcaster ERT.

The quake sparked limited power cuts around the city and the fire brigade reported receiving calls about people being trapped in lifts.

The epicentre was 14 miles northwest of the city, according to European Earthquake Monitoring Centre.

Seismologist Manolis Skordilis told Greece's Star TV that: "The earthquake was close to the surface, which is why it was felt so much."

Venetia Rainey, a journalist based in Athens, said she initially thought the tremor was construction.

“I noticed the flat vibrating slightly but thought it was just the building works outside," she said.

"Then after 10 seconds the whole building moved and the walls shook from side to side for about 10 seconds again.

"I ran to the balcony to see and saw lots of people in the street on their phones, a car alarm was going off."

Abigail Hill, an English teacher working in Athens, said that her and colleagues took shelter under tables.

"The room started trembling and we all realised that it wasn’t stopping, so we got under tables, and the trembling continued for maybe another 30 seconds."

Greece earthquake: chandelier shakes due to tremor

"Then I heard sirens and everyone in the building, once it stopped swaying, started going down the stairs and everyone was in the streets, waiting to find out what was going on.

"Now there’s a big sense of relief that it seems there are no casualties and everyone is okay."

Around 40 minutes after the first felt tremor, residents felt another strong quake, which the EMC rated magnitude 4.4

In 1999, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Greek capital, killing at least 143 people and causing over 100 buildings to collapse.

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