A powerful earthquake jolted the Indonesian island of Bali yesterday, injuring dozens of people and causing panic as hundreds of tourists fled violently shaking buildings.
The magnitude 6.0 quake rocked the main tourist district of Kuta for several minutes, said Endro Tjahjono from the Bali office of Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.
“There was panic — everyone ran out of the buildings. When we returned to our office building, we saw some cracks on the wall and plaster had come off the walls,” he said.
Kuta’s Sunset Road was hit hard, with hundreds of tourists fleeing from malls, restaurants and supermarkets.
“Hundreds of people ran onto the streets. It was chaos. So many people tried to drive off that the traffic came to a standstill,” said Reno Permana, who works for a mobile phone service and ran from the third floor of his office building when the quake hit. “Part of the wall on the Carrefour supermarket near my building came down and tiles from the roof fell and smashed into the parking lot.”
Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where the meeting of continental plates causes high seismic activity and is frequently hit by earthquakes.
In October last year, a powerful earthquake triggered a huge tsunami off the coast of Sumatra, northwest of Bali, which killed at least 300 people.
The US Geological Survey said the epicenter of yesterday’s quake was in the ocean near the resort of Nusa Dua, south of Bali’s capital Denpasar. However, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no current tsunami warning in effect.
Nusa Dua has suffered little damage, hotel operators said.
Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 17 people suffered light injuries from falling roof tiles in the quake and a hospital, three schools and two government buildings were damaged.
However, Ken Wirasandhi of Sanglah hospital, said 44 people, mostly students, were treated for cuts and head wounds.
“Two students are still under observation. They suffered head wounds when roof tiles crashed on them. The others received outpatient treatment for cuts and have gone home,” he said.
The epicenter was measured at 61.3km deep, about 130km south-southwest of Denpasar, said US seismologists, who measured its magnitude at 6.0.
The quake was also felt in neighboring areas such as Surabaya, Blitar and Malang cities in east Java.