2 tourists die as quake hits Greek, Turkish resorts

KOS, Greece: A strong 6.7-magnitude undersea quake hit the Greek holiday island of Kos and the Turkish resort of Bodrum on Friday, killing two people and injuring dozens in areas abuzz with nightlife.
The epicentre of the quake was about 10 kilometres south of Bodrum, a magnet for holidaymakers, and 16 kilometres east of Kos, the US Geological Survey said.
“(There was) this loud rumbling noise and we all ran out… my four friends fell to the ground due to the place shaking so much,” 18-year-old Briton Harriet Longley said in Kos.
“We all crawled out and managed to get down the stairs where the other guests were screaming.
“We were thinking of leaving but the aftershocks are not as bad now so (I) think we are going to stay for now. If anything else happens we’ll be leaving,” she said.
Police said a 22-year-old Swede and a 39-year-old Turk died in an area full of cafes and nightclubs in Kos. Another man from Sweden has apparently lost his legs.
They were found on the street, crushed either by the collapsed wall of a bar or by stones that fell from old houses nearby.
About 120 people were hurt in Kos and nearly 80 in Bodrum, many of them after jumping out of windows, officials and media reports said.
Seven people who were badly hurt — including the Swedish amputee — were flown to hospitals in Athens and Crete.
Television footage showed gutted stone buildings and island streets filled with rubble. The quake, followed by a wave of aftershocks, also damaged an 18th century Ottoman mosque and cracked the dock in the port of Kos, which has been shut down.
A small tsunami sent fishing boats crashing into Kos harbour and damaged cars in the resort of Gumbet outside Bodrum.
With Kos airport also temporarily shut down for safety tests, hundreds were forced to queue as several early morning flights were cancelled or delayed.
The airport is now operating at full capacity, German handling company Fraport said.
“There is no panic, those leaving are on scheduled flights,” an airport source said.
Fraport said checks for damage had been carried out on the runway and other airport facilities.
“There have been no injuries or serious damage, while the areas where minor damages occurred are already being restored,” it said in a statement.
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said damage elsewhere was minimal.
“Things on the island seem to be under full control and normality has returned,” he told state television ERT.
“The airport is operational and the roads are in good shape… there is no major damage to infrastructure or buildings.”
Kos attracts young tourists and during peak season has a capacity of around 100,000 beds, a local police official said, adding that more than 85 per cent were currently booked.
With Kos’s port inaccessible, ferry traffic was being rerouted to the neighbouring island of Kalymnos.
Over 330 people were rerouted and had to reach the island on smaller boats from Nisyros and Kalymnos, the coastguard said.
A ferry has also been sent to evacuate 200 Turkish nationals from Kos.
The quake struck at 1:31 am Friday (2231 GMT Thursday) and was also felt on the Greek island of Rhodes.
A journalist staying in Theologos, about 30 kilometres from Rhodes town, said the hotel “rocked like a boat and I thought it was going to collapse”.
“We were very surprised. We were scared and we immediately went outside,” 38-year-old Teddy Dijoux, who was holidaying with his family, said.
“That lasted a long time. I quickly gathered up my children to leave the hotel,” said holidaymaker Sylvie Jannot.
Reports said the state hospital in Bodrum was evacuated after cracks appeared, with new patients being examined in a garden outside.
The Adliye mosque in central Bodrum also suffered some damage.
“The biggest problem at the moment are electricity cuts in certain areas,” Bodrum mayor Mehmet Kocadon told Turkey’s NTV television.
He said damage was light and there were no reports of deaths.
“The bed shook a lot. Some bottles fell and broke in the kitchen and the patio,” said Turkish pensioner Dilber Arikan, who has a summer house in the area.
“I screamed I was very scared because I was alone.”
— AFP