Powerful quake rattles Greece, felt as far away as Middle East, Italy
ATHENS, Greece – A powerful earthquake shook Greece on Sunday and was felt as far away as the Middle East and Italy. Minor damage was reported in southern Greece, and authorities on the island of Crete said three people were slightly injured.No tsunami warnings were issued.The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the epicenter of the 6.9-magnitude quake was located beneath the seabed about 125 miles south of Athens and 12 miles east of the island of Kithira in the Sea of Crete.”It was a very powerful quake which shook all of Greece. There have been dozens of aftershocks,” institute head Giorgos Stavrakakis said. “The quake occurred deep undersea and that’s what saved us.”Stavrakakis said he did not expect any serious aftershocks.The earthquake, which lasted for several seconds, occurred at 1:34 p.m. and was felt as far away as Cairo, Egypt, about 745 miles southeast of the epicenter, and Amman, Jordan.The quake also was felt across southern Italy, prompting some people to run into the streets but causing no reported damage or injuries, civil protection officials said.Clarice Nassif Ransom, a U.S. Geological Survey spokeswoman in Washington, said scientists project that as many as 6 million people may have felt the earthquake. The USGS reported the magnitude at 6.7.Police on Crete, just south of Kithira, said three people suffered minor injuries.On Kithira, police said the airport and 80 homes had been damaged and that a church was close to collapse in the village of Mitata. On Crete, a wall collapsed in a cafeteria in the port town of Hania without any injuries.”We were ready to deal with more serious damage. Luckily that didn’t happen,” Fire Chief Andreas Kois said.In 1999, a 5.9-magnitude quake near Athens killed 143 people, injured about 2,000 and left thousands homeless.