(AP) — A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 struck the southern Greek island of Crete Monday morning, killing one person and injuring several more, authorities said.
The quake sent people fleeing into the streets, while schools were evacuated. Repeated aftershocks were rattling the area, and local media reported damage in villages near the epicenter.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake struck at 9:17 a.m. local time (0617 GMT), with an epicenter 246 kilometers (153 miles) south southeast of the Greek capital, Athens.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center and the US Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.0, with an epicenter seven kilometers (4 miles) north of the village of Thrapsano. It is common for different seismological institutes to give varying magnitudes for an earthquake in the initial hours and days after an event.
Greece’s Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry said that according to reports from local authorities, one person had been killed and a further nine people suffered injuries. The details of the circumstances of the death and injuries were not immediately available.
“This is not an event that occurred without warning. We have seen activity in this region for several months. This was a strong earthquake, it was not under sea but under land and affecting populated areas,” seismologist Gerasimos Papadopoulos said on Greece’s state broadcaster ERT.
At least nine aftershocks also struck the area, with the EMSC giving a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 for the two strongest ones.
Residents of the city of Heraklion rushed out into the streets. Local media in Crete reported damage, with collapsing walls of old stone buildings in villages near the epicenter of the temblor on the eastern part of the island.
Heraklion mayor Vassilis Lambrinos told Greek Skai television that there were no immediate reports from emergency services of any injuries or severe damage. He said schools were all evacuated and were to be checked for structural damage.