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5.1-magnitude quake hits Athens, prompts panic & evacuations

19 July 2019

A magnitude 5.1 natural disaster shook the Greek capital Athens on Friday, sending people running from buildings in panic, witnesses said.

The natural disaster was registered at 5.1 magnitude with an epicentre about 22km (14 miles) from Athens. The Athens Institute says the quake struck at 2:38 p.m. local time (1113 GMT) about 26 kilometers (13.7 miles) north of Athens.

The fire department has so far rescued over a dozen people trapped in elevators in the capital, state TV ERT said.

"It had a very shallow depth and that's why it was felt so strongly", he said. The shock was caught live in the studios of state broadcaster ERT.

The US geological institute said Friday's quake had a magnitude of 5.3.

Damage is seen on the bell tower of Church of the Pantanassa at the Monastiraki Square following an quake in Athens, Greece, July 19, 2019.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.

The quake struck at around 1100 GMT, sending anxious residents and office staff onto the street.

The head of the anti-quake protection agency, Efthymios Lekkas, told Greeks to remain calm.

The quake is the first to hit the Greek capital since 1999. "The capital's buildings are built to withstand a much stronger natural disaster", he told ERT.

5.1-magnitude quake hits Athens, prompts panic & evacuations