• Quake hits Aegean resorts: 2 tourists killed

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    KOS, Greece: Two foreigners died early Friday and more than 100 people were injured on the Greek island of Kos when an earthquake shook popular Greek and Turkish holiday destinations in the Aegean Sea.

    The epicenter of the 6.7 magnitude quake was some 10.3 kilometers (6.4 miles) south of the major Turkish resort of Bodrum, a magnet for holidaymakers in the summer, and 16.2 kilometers east of the island of Kos in Greece, the US Geological Survey said.

    “I woke up screaming and so did my family. I’m desperate to go home,” Briton Natalie McKay told Britain’s ITV channel.

    People stand outside damaged buildings after an earthquake on the Greek island of Kos on Friday. AFP PHOTO / KOSNEWS24. GR / STR

    Police said a 22-year-old Swede and a 39-year-old Turk died in an area abuzz with nightlife. Another man from Sweden has apparently lost his legs, they said.

    They were found on the street, crushed either by the collapsed wall of a bar or by stones that fell from old houses nearby.

    Tzanakopoulos added that seven people more badly hurt were being flown to a hospital on the island of Crete for treatment.

    Kos attracts young tourists and during peak season has a capacity of around 100,000 beds, a local police official said, adding that more than 85 percent were currently booked.

    “People are worried but calm is slowly returning,” the official said.

    With the port of Kos inaccessible, local ferry traffic was being rerouted to the neighboring island of Kalymnos. Two helicopters had been sent to ferry the injured to the nearby island of Rhodes.

    The Greek secretary of state for the merchant navy Nektarios Santorinios, said the injury toll had risen to 120.

    The quake struck Friday at 01:31 a.m. local time (2231 GMT Thursday).

    Television footage showed gutted stone buildings and island streets filled with rubble. The quake, followed by a wave of aftershocks, also damaged a historic mosque and split the port’s dock, which has been shut down.

    A small tsunami subsequently sent fishing boats crashing into the harbor.

    Hundreds of people were queuing at Kos airport on Friday, an Agence France-Presse photographer said, with several flights cancelled.

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that although the port of Kos was closed to traffic, damage elsewhere was minimal.

    “Things on the island seem to be under full control and normality has returned,” Tzanakopoulos told state TV ERT.

    “The airport is operational and the roads are in good shape…there is no major damage to infrastructure or buildings,” he said.

    In Turkey, almost 80 people were injured in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, local media reported Friday.

    AFP

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