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Seaquake Swiss holiday companies react to Aegean quake

A cafe setting is littered with rubble following a strong earthquake on the Greek island of Kos

(Keystone)

A powerful earthquake in the Aegean Sea has killed at least two people on the Greek island of Kos. There are several hundred Swiss holidaymakers on the island, with reports of one being lightly injured.

The 6.7-magnitude quake hit 12 kilometres north east of Kos, near the Turkish coast, with a depth of 10 km, the US Geological Survey saidexternal link. It struck at 1.31 am local time.

Officials said more than 120 people were injured on the holiday island of Kos and the port was hit by a small tsunami wave, causing damage to the area. Around 70 people were hurt in the Turkish resort of Bodrum. The two people killed on Kos have not been named, although they have been reported to be Turkish and Swedish. They were said to have been crushed by a falling wall in a bar.

Swiss reactions

The Swiss foreign ministryexternal link told the Swiss news agency on Friday that it was in contact with local authorities to see if any Swiss were among the victims. It confirmed that one Swiss woman had been slightly injured.

Holiday company Hotelplan Suisseexternal link said the injured Swiss lady was one of its clients. There are 379 customers in Kos and six in Bodrum, it said. The company has been contacting all its clients in these locations to ask them if they wanted to return home early.

There are several hundred Kuoniexternal link holidaymakers in Kos and Bodrum. The firm is in the process of finding out how many Swiss clients have been affected by the quake, spokesman Marcel Schlatter told the Tages-Anzeigerexternal link. So far no decision has been made about the next steps, it depends whether there will be flights, he said.

Tui Switzerland said there were 671 customers in the region and that all were fine.

Eye-witness

A Swiss guest affected by the quake in Bodrum told Blickexternal link that he was asleep when it struck. “I have already experienced earthquakes in Switzerland but never one of such severity. It was extreme. I was petrified,” Pirmin Erb said.

The quake lasted a matter of seconds. Guests at his hotel ran out onto the beach in panic. “Nobody knew how bad the situation really was,” said Erb. Many guests spent the night at the pool. Erb went back to bed in the early morning but could only sleep for around an hour.

He said there were still aftershocks, which was frightening. Some families were however already back on the beach. He is intending to stay in Turkey, Erb said.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies/ilj

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