Athens, Greece – A strong earthquake occurred on Friday near the Greek capital Athens. The residents ran into the street in fear of fires and firefighters to search for people trapped in elevators. The Athens Institute of Geodynamics gave the earthquake a preliminary strength of 5.1, the US Geological Survey a preliminary strength of 5.3. The Athens Institute says that the quake struck at 14.13 clock. Local time about 21.7 miles north of Athens.
The earthquake triggered limited blackouts and communication problems in Athens, and the fire department reported calls for people trapped in elevators. The shock was caught live in the studios of the state broadcaster ERT.
The authorities inspected areas near the epicenter with helicopters and police patrols. However, no deaths or serious injuries were reported. Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said an abandoned building had collapsed in a western district of Athens and several other abandoned buildings had suffered severe damage in other parts of the city.
"There are no reports of serious injuries … I urge the public to remain calm, in Greece we are well acquainted with earthquakes," he said The last 20 years came in 1999, when a magnitude 6 trembling occurred , 0 caused great damage and killed more than 140 people.
Gerasimos Papadopoulos, senior seismologist at the Geodynamic Institute, said Friday's earthquake was felt across southern Greece.
It had a very shallow depth and was felt so strongly, "he said." It is too early to say if this was the main quake, but there was a magnitude 3.5, 2.5 aftershock and 3.2, and that's encouraging. However, we need more time and data to get a clear picture. "
Earthquakes are common in Greece and neighboring Turkey.
Efthymios Lekkas, head of the Anti-Quake Protection Agency, told the Greeks to stay calm, BBC News reported. "There is nothing to worry about, the capital buildings are built to withstand a much stronger earthquake," he said.