The Greek Island of Kos was rocked by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake at 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning. It sent tourists and locals into a panic with many injuries reported when people tried to flee collapsing buildings. Some even jumped out of windows to try and get to safety. Two visitors were killed in the tumult, a 27-year-old from Sweden and a 39-year-old from Turkey.
A nightclub that was renovated in the 1930’s to meet the demand for safer buildings began to crumble under the force of the quake. It was the site of many of the injuries as people who were enjoying the revelry frantically tried to escape the falling building. A great deal of tourism revenue is generated by the taverns that line “bar street.”
The strong tremors were felt more violently due to the shallow depth of the earthquake. More than 20 aftershocks continued to rock the community and kept visitors out of the buildings for the duration of the night. People were found resting on sunbeds in the town square and on beaches, or huddled around tables at the outdoor cafes.
Turkey rescued 200 vacationers from the ruins and brought them back to safety. Rescue dogs have been sniffing through the wreckage, but it is believed that everyone has been found. There are about 500 injured in the aftermath of the seismic tremblor in the Greek islands and Turkey.
A small tsunami was triggered, causing minor flooding which pushed the water about 100 meters inland. The neighboring resort in Bodrum also felt the effects that left 25 hospitalized, but thankfully, no one was seriously injured at this location.
Kos is known for its beautiful whitewashed buildings and its inviting atmosphere that encourages a large number of yearly tourists to visit. After the main town was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1930s, many of the buildings were strengthened, and stricter building codes have been enforced. While the White Corner Club was the site of the worst devastation, most of the structures only experienced cracks running through their outer walls, although a large amount of debris fills the streets.
Tourists have described the scene as chaotic and terrifying. There was a great deal of screaming while people tried to escape the shaking structures. Many are suffering from serious injuries with a large number of broken bones from jumping off of balconies.
Rescuers and emergency services are tending to the wounded and helping to bring order and peace back to the normally tranquil island.
[Featured Image by Michael Probst/Ap Images]