Strong 5.3 magnitude quake shakes Athens, knocks out phones in capital

Photo grabbed from USGS website/ Courtesy USGS


A strong 5.3 magnitude earthquake jolted Athens on Friday, knocking out phone and cellphone service, with no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

According to the Greek geodynamic institute, it was a 5.1-magnitude quake with an epicentre 23 kilometers (14 miles) northwest of Athens and was followed by aftershocks.

The US Geological Survey, however, recorded it at 5.3 magnitude with the epicenter located some three kilometers north northwest of Magoula, Greece.  It was depth of 10 kilometers.

The fire department has so far rescued over a dozen people trapped in elevators in the capital, state TV ERT said.

The quake struck at around 1100 GMT, sending worried residents and office staff onto the street.

News media have also reported electricity outages but internet connections are still operating.

Greece lies on major fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes, but they rarely cause casualties.

In July 2017, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake killed two people on the island of Kos in the Aegean sea, causing significant damage.

In 1999, a 5.9-magnitude quake left 143 people dead in Athens and the region northwest of the capital.

(with a report from Agence France-Presse)