A “terrifying” 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Greek island of Crete this morning, killing one person and injuring several others, amid reports of structural damage to homes and churches.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported that a 6.0 magnitude quake struck at 9.17 am with an epicentre 16 miles south-southeast of the city of Heraklion and a depth of 6.2 miles. At least nine aftershocks have also struck the area, with the strongest registering a magnitude of 4.6.
Greece’s Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry confirmed that one person had been killed and a further nine people suffered injuries. Local authorities reported that a man was crushed when a church dome in the town of Arkalochori collapsed; they said that he had been renovating the church when the earthquake struck.
The details of the circumstances of the injuries were not immediately available.
Vassilis Lambrinos, the mayor of Heraklion, told Greek Skai television that all schools had been evacuated to check for structural damage.
Local media reported that some old buildings had experienced structural damage, with walls collapsing in villages near the epicentre.
Holidaymakers were also evacuated from their hotels in Crete. Sarah Williams-Long, a doctor at King’s Hospital in London who was staying at the Creta Maris beach resort with her partner and three-year-old son, told The Independent that the experience was harrowing.
She said: “They’ve evacuated us from our hotel in case there’s a second earthquake – we’re waiting to be taken to a hotel away from the higher buildings.
“We’ll hopefully be allowed back into our hotel if nothing happens in the next 40 minutes. It was terrifying. Initially there was just a very slight rumble, like waiting for a train underground, but it quickly increased causing the building to shake.
“Everyone instinctively got under the tables until we were asked to leave the building. Some people were visibly shaken – one of the chefs collapsed. It was very dramatic.”
Another Briton in Crete told the EMSC: “Coming from England, I have never experienced an earthquake like this. I was rather scared. The building doesn’t seem to have suffered any damage,” they said, adding that there were cracks in the paving.
Social media users have also been responding to the quake.
Twitter user Yorgos Saslis said: “we REALLY FELT this one”, noting that everything was okay where he was, save for a “few shattered picture frames”.
The dust in the distance is from the 5.8R #earthquake that just hit #Crete this morning.
At only 10km depth, we REALLY FELT this one.
All good over here - just a few shattered picture frames.
Hope everyone else is doing ok!! pic.twitter.com/UtRn60rlce
— Yorgos Saslis (@gsaslis) September 27, 2021
Pete Goodwin, who was preparing to fly back to Britain, said on Twitter: “Just experienced a very strong earth tremor/earthquake in Crete!”
Others on Twitter reported having felt tremors in Analipsi (11 miles away) and as far away as Santorini (92 miles away).
The EMSC had originally reported that the quake had a magnitude of 6.5 before adjusting it to 6.0 shortly after. The Athens Geodynamic Institute also reported that an earthquake had struck the island of Crete, but reported a preliminary magnitude of 5.8. This is not unusual, however, as different seismological institutes often report varying magnitudes in the initial hours and days following a quake.
The quake comes just two weeks after a 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck nearby holiday island Kos at a depth of 6.2 miles, on 11 September.