A powerful earthquake killed two people on the Greek holiday island of Kos in the early hours of Friday, sending tourists fleeing into the streets, and causing disruption in the nearby Turkish tourist hub of Bodrum.
A Turkish and a Swedish tourist, aged 39 and 22 years, died when the roof of a popular bar collapsed, Greek police said. Kos’s port was put out of action and, across the strait, a small tsunami damaged vehicles parked near Bodrum’s shore.
On Kos, around 115 people were injured, including tourists of various nationalities — 12 of them seriously. More than 350 people visited hospitals in Turkey, though most had only light injuries, reports Reuters.
The quake struck at 1:31 a.m. (2231 GMT), and many of Kos’s tourists spent the rest of the night in the open as a precaution, hotel owners said.
“All of a sudden it felt like a train was going right through the room,” said Vernon Hausman, a German holidaying on Kos.
“I told my son: ‘Looks like an earthquake, so let’s get the hell out of here.'”
Greek authorities said the 12 people seriously injured on Kos included tourists from Turkey, Sweden and Norway; four were transferred to Crete and three to Athens.
One person was in a critical condition, while a Swedish tourist lost a leg, the director of the hospital in Crete told Greek Skai TV.
Turkish and Greek authorities put the magnitude at 6.3 and 6.6 respectively and reported several aftershocks, with one estimated at 5.1. The U.S. Geological Survey located the epicenter of the main quake in the Aegean Sea, 10 km (6 miles) SSE of Bodrum and about 16 km ENE of Kos’s main port.
Hotel owners in Bodrum told Turkish broadcasters that some tourists were checking out.
“It was a lucky escape and it could have been much worse,” said Issa Kamara, a 38-year old personal trainer at the Maca Kizi hotel in Bodrum’s smart Turkbuku area.
Constantina Svynou, head of the hoteliers’ association in Kos, told Greek state television that many visitors had spent the night outside their hotels.
“There are about 200,000 tourists on the island, we are at the peak season. Our first reaction was to calm the tourists, following basic rules and evacuating hotel buildings,” Svynou said, adding that there had been no injuries at hotels.