An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 5.8 struck the Greek island of Crete on Monday, killing one person and injuring nine others, while damaging homes and churches and causing rock slides near the country's fourth-largest city.
The quake sent people fleeing into the streets in the city of Heraklion, and schools were evacuated. Repeated aftershocks rattled the area, adding to damage in villages near the epicenter.
The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake struck at 9:17 a.m. local time (0617 GMT), with an epicenter 246 kilometers (153 miles) south southeast of the Greek capital, Athens, The Associated Press reported.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center and the US Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.0, with an epicenter seven kilometers (4 miles) north of the village of Thrapsano. It is common for different seismological institutes to give varying magnitudes for an earthquake in the initial hours and days after an event.
Residents of the city of Heraklion rushed out into the streets. Local media in Crete reported some damage, mainly with collapsing walls of old stone buildings in villages near the epicenter of the temblor on the eastern part of the island. Children were evacuated from schools.
Heraklion mayor Vassilis Lambrinos told Greek Skai television that there were no immediate reports from emergency services of any injuries or severe damage. He said schools were all evacuated and were to be checked for structural damage.
Greece's Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry said that according to reports from local authorities, one person had been killed and a further nine people suffered injuries. The details of the circumstances of the death and injuries were not immediately available.
The fire department said it was flying 30 members of its disaster response units with sniffer dogs and specialized rescue equipment to Crete, while all its disaster response units and the fire department services on Crete were placed on general alert.
At least nine aftershocks also struck the area, with the EMSC giving a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 for the two strongest ones.