6.8-magnitude earthquake strikes off Greece coast

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck off Greece’s west coast early Friday near the island of Zakynthos.

Damage is seen on the island of Zakynthos, Greece, on Friday after a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 hit. Photo by Konstantinos Synetos/EPA-EFE
Damage is seen on the island of Zakynthos, Greece, on Friday after a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 hit. Photo by Konstantinos Synetos/EPA-EFE

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake’s epicenter was located 20 miles south of the island’s southern tip of Mouzaki.

The USGS said the quake occurred “as the result of rupture on or near the plate boundary between the Nubia (Africa) and the Eurasia plates.”

The earthquake could be felt as far away as Athens, about 175 miles northeast of the island, the Evening Standard reported. While no significant damage reported on the island, the island’s capital did lose electricity.

“We’re checking out the villages on the island, where there are several older buildings,” Spyros Georgiou, civil protection agency spokesman, said. “The lack of electricity is a problem, but technicians are trying to restore power.”

Tourists on the popular vacation island were forced to evacuate their hotels in the middle of the night after the quake hit, Sky News reported.

Authorities said three people were taken to a hospital. A 15th-century monastery was also damaged and the tremor cracked paving slabs at some locations.

“Everything was visibly shaking up and down,” Briton Joanna Jones, who was vacationing on the island, told BBC News. “It felt like it lasted five minutes but realistically it was only 10 seconds. The pool was swaying all over the place and the shelves have all come down in the shops.”

There were reports that the earthquake could also be felt in Italy, Albania and Libya.

ByClyde Hughes