A powerful earthquake struck off the Turkish coast at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday damaging older buildings and the main port, killing at least two and injuring more than 200 people, and triggering tsunami in the Mediterranean and Aegean forcing tens of thousands to sleep outdoors.
The epicenter of the magnitude-6.7 earthquake was off Bodrum, southwest Turkey, with the country’s Aegean coast and Greek holiday islands including Kos and Rhodes worst affected.
Holidaymakers fled hotels in terror and some even jumped from balconies, as the quake hit, before running for their lives to higher ground as tsunami waves surged through beachfront resorts moments later, flooding bars and restaurants, carrying away cars and depositing boats in town streets, The Daily Mail reported.
On the island of Kos, two tourists — a 22-year-old from Sweden and a 39-year-old from Turkey — were killed after being crushed under a collapsed ceiling at the packed White Corner Club bar.
Huge crowd was seen outside Kos International Airport as holidaymakers, mostly British, attempted to leave the Greek island with many resorting to lying on the ground with their luggage outside the terminal.
The earthquake triggered a tsunami that brought two-foot tidal waves and caused flooding in Bodrum and parts of Kos, which took the brunt of the impact with significant damage to buildings.
A wall collapsed on a building dating back to the 1930s and it crushed people who were at the bar in the building’s lower level, according to Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis.
British student Naomi Ruddock, who was on holiday with her mother and felt the earthquake on Kos, shared her horrible experience:
“We were asleep and we just felt the room shaking. The room moved. Literally everything was moving. And it kind of felt like you were on a boat and it was swaying really fast from side to side – you felt seasick.”
Christopher Hackland of Edinburgh, Scotland, who is a scuba instructor on Kos, added:
“The instant reaction was to get ourselves out of the room. There was banging. There was shaking. The light was swinging, banging on the ceiling, crockery falling out of the cupboards, and pans.
“There was a lot of screaming and crying and hysterics coming from the hotel [referring to the hotel next to his apartment building]. It felt like being at a theme park with one of the illusions, an optical illusion where you feel like you’re upside down.”