ISTANBUL (NewsNation Now) — A strong earthquake struck Friday in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, killing at least 19 people and injuring over 700 amid collapsed buildings and flooding, officials said.
A small tsunami struck the Seferisar district of Izmir, said Haluk Ozener, director of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute. At least four people were slightly injured on Samos, where a tsunami warning was issued.
At least 17 people were killed in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, including one who drowned, and 709 were injured, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD.
Among the dead were the wife and two children of the secretary-general of the Turkish Medical Association’s Izmir branch, the group said.
On Samos, two teenagers died after being struck by a wall that collapsed. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted condolences, saying “Words are too poor to describe what one feels before the loss of children.”
At least 19 people were injured on the island, with two, including a 14-year-old, being airlifted to Athens and seven hospitalized on the island, health authorities said.
The small tsunami that hit the Turkish coast also affected Samos, with seawater flooding streets in the main harbor town of Vathi. Authorities warned people to stay away from the coast and from potentially damaged buildings.
Izmir Gov. Yavuz Selim Kosger said at least 70 people had been rescued from the wreckage. He said four buildings were destroyed and more than 10 collapsed, while others also were damaged.
The environment and urban planning minister, Murat Kurum, said people were trapped under the wreckage and rescue efforts were underway.
Search and rescue efforts were continuing in at least 12 buildings, AFAD said.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Friday’s earthquake was centered in the Aegean at a depth of 16,5 kilometers (10.3 miles) and registered at a 6.6 magnitude.
Turkish media showed wreckage of a multiple-story building in central Izmir, with people climbing it to reach rescuers. Smoke was filmed in several spots in central Izmir.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 38 ambulances, two ambulance helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams were working in the city of Izmir.
The quake was felt across the eastern Greek islands and even in the Greek capital Athens. Greek media said the residents of Samos and other islands fled their homes, while some rockfalls were reported. There were no immediate reports of injuries.