Tourists told how their hotels were 'shaking like a jelly' before the tsunami sent people fleeing low ground
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At least two people are dead and hundreds more injured after a powerful earthquake struck off the Turkish coast overnight, triggering a tsunami that hit tourist resorts in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and damaging buildings across the region.
The epicentre of the magnitude-6.7 quake was off Bodrum, southwest Turkey, with the country's Aegean coast and Greek holiday islands including Kos and Rhodes worst affected.
Holidaymakers fled hotels in terror as the quake hit before running for their lives to higher ground as tsunami waves surged through beachfront resorts moments later, deluging hotels and bars, carrying away cars and depositing boats in town streets.
On the island of Kos, two male tourists - a 27-year-old from Sweden and a 39-year-old from Turkey - were killed after being crushed under a collapsed bar ceiling. Parts of a historic mosque in Kos Town also came crashing down into the street and rescuers were this morning sifting through rubble looking for trapped survivors.
Kos's mayor said at least 100 people there were hurt, including tourists, and the island was also badly affected by the tsunami. Tens of thousands of tourists spent the night out doors after the quake sparked panic on the island.
In Turkey, at least 70 people were admitted to hospitals in Bodrum. Video taken when the quake hit showed staff and patients at Bodrum State Hospital cowering for cover, while the devastation caused a large electrical fire to break out in the city after a power pylon came crashing to the ground.
Tourists were forced to flee their rooms when the quake hit at 1.31am local time (11.31pm BST). They gathered anxiously in the street, and faced a sleepless night by the roadside or on beaches after they were warned not to re-enter damaged hotels.
Kristian Stevens, from Nelson in Lancashire said he felt the building he was in 'shake like a jelly'. The 48-year-old said he had just gone to bed when the quake struck at around 1.30am local time.
He said: 'It was quite surreal as I had just laid down in bed and the whole building shook. The whole building shook like a jelly.
'Many of the locals rushed out into the streets still in underwear. Some have been seen with blankets and pillows not sure if it is safe to return home.'
Sophie Wild said she ran from her third floor accommodation when she woke to a loud banging noise.
The 21-year-old from Canterbury in Kent is coming to the end of her holiday in Altinkum, around 500 miles away from Bodrum.
She said: 'We were asleep and were awoken by what sounded like banging on our door, it got louder and louder and the building started shaking. We jumped up ran to the balcony to see what it was (my first thought when we heard the banging was that we were being attacked).
'When we realised it was an earthquake, we got an immediate sense to get out, we thought the building was going to crumble around us. We ran down our stairs [from the third floor].
'People were running out of rooms, banging on people's doors to make sure they were out. Everyone just ran outside and waited for a couple of hours - it's only now that people are starting to go back to their rooms. There are a few cracks in the walls but otherwise staff says it's safe.'
Local authorities ordered holidaymakers not to enter hotels due to likely aftershocks, with more than five quakes hitting the area around Turkey in just two hours.
The tremor struck at 1.31 am local time (11.31pm BST) approximately 6.4 miles south of Bodrum and 10 miles east of Kos.
Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis told state-run Greek media that buildings on the island sustained structural damage in the quake that struck early Friday morning.
Witnesses described the sea 'swelling' as waves crashed over the sea wall when the tsunami struck.
The coast guard also announced the island's port was damaged in the quake and that a ferry en route there was not docking.
Former footballer Kevin McNaughton said he felt the quake as far away as Dalaman, around 120 miles from Bodrum.
The former Cardiff City player tweeted: 'Jesus just experienced earthquake in turkey, literally cr***ed myself room shaking allover place, Just stood outside now no sure what to do.'
Among the tourists in Kos was Scottish diving instructor Christopher Hackland who described scenes of panic after the quake struck.
'The instant reaction was to get ourselves out of the (hotel) room. There was banging. There was shaking. The light was swinging, banging on the ceiling, crockery falling out of the cupboards, and pans were making noise,' Hackland, from the Scottish capital Edinburgh told the Associated Press.
'There was a lot of screaming and crying and hysterics coming from the hotel. It felt like being at a theme park with one of the illusions, an optical illusion where you feel like you're upside down.'
Several tourists are stranded outside their hotel after an earthquake sent them streaming onto Lambi Beach on Kos Island.
Lauren Duffy, a 20-year-old student from Merseyside, was evacuated along with her mother and sister from the Atlantis Hotel, which was strewn with shattered glass.
She said: 'We were asleep in our hotel room when we were woken by really violent shaking, and we all were screaming and told to evacuate from the hotel.'
She said they were able to return to the hotel just long enough to retrieve their passports before they were forced out again by tremors.
Ms Duffy said no one was hurt but the broken glass made the area unsafe. She said most of the stranded tourists there are Dutch, Russian and German.
At least a dozen aftershocks hit the area in the two hours after the main earthquake, the biggest being magnitude 5.4.
In Bitez, a resort town west of Bodrum, the quake sent frightened residents running into the streets.
Hotel guests briefly returned to their rooms to pick up their belongings but chose to spend the rest of the night outside, witnesses said.
Some used sheets and cushions borrowed from nearby lounge chairs to build makeshift beds.
Meanwhile in Rhodes, a journalist staying in Theologos, about 20 miles from the island's main town, said their hotel 'rocked like a boat and I thought it was going to collapse'.
'We were very surprised. We were scared and we immediately went outside,' said 38-year-old Teddy Dijoux, who was holidaying with his family at a resort.
'That lasted a long time. I quickly gathered up my children to leave the hotel,' said holidaymaker Sylvie Jannot.
British tourist John O'Brennan wrote on Twitter: 'Just experienced 30-second earthquake.
'I hope there are no injuries. Building shook furiously. But all OK.'
Tom Riesack added: 'Wow - terrifying to wake up to massively shaking room at 6.7 earthquake on Kos - thank God no one hurt, just shaken.'
Daniel Markham, a councillor on Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in Kent, said he too felt the effects on the Greek island of Rhodes.
He tweeted: '#earthquake #Rhodes felt it here too. Pretty strong. Looked out the window to see the waves in the pool.'
The UK Foreign Office released a statement warning about the possibility of aftershocks and calling on Brits to follow the advice of local authorities.
Esengul Civelek, the governor of Mugla province, which contains Bodrum, said initial reports showed there were no fatalities in their region, with a small number of people suffering minor injuries.
Mugla Mayor Osman Gurun said power outages affected certain parts of the province and that telephone operators experienced shortages due to overloads.
Bodrum Mayor Mehmet Kocadon said the earthquake had caused cracks on some old buildings.
Turkish broadcaster NTV reported that aftershocks were being felt in the region, with a 4.6 magnitude aftershock hitting at 1.52 am (22.52pm GMT).
The tsunami waves hit minutes after the main quake. The sea level in Bodrum dropped by almost a foot before water surges back in two powerful waves, cascading through the resorts and flooding buildings. Footage showed cars lifted up and carried away by the torrents.
Sources : Dailymail
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