One killed, nine hurt in Bali quake

An elderly man was killed and nine others injured when an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale shook the island resort of Bali and neighbouring Lombok early on Friday.

    The earthquake lasted for about five seconds

    Tourists and residents on the popular Indonesian holiday destination were jolted out of their beds by the tremor, which occurred at around

    21:00 GMT.

    "My first thought was it was another bomb," said Matt Gyde, a Singapore-based Australian tourist on a New Year holiday to the island.

    "I shouted to my mates 'get out of here!' but fortunately it didn't last that long. It was over pretty quickly."

    Officials said the quake was centred around the Bali coast, and lasted about five seconds.

    An official in the city of Mataram on Lombok told local Elshinta radio: "An earthquake shook our city at 5 o'clock this morning.

    "Some houses were heavily damaged. One person died because of the quake."

    The radio added that it was an elderly man who had died as a result of shock.

    Buildings damaged

    "The quake has caused some cracks in roofs and windows. So far I don't see any significant damage"

    Head of the meteorological dept

    "The quake has caused some cracks in roofs and windows. So far I don't see any significant damage," said Jumadi, head of the meteorological and

    geophysics agency in Bali's capital Denpasar.

    Three bombs killed 202 people - most foreigners and many Australians - in an explosion in Bali in October 2002. Tourism suffered drastically

    as a result, but has been making a comeback.

    Officials in the town of Karangasem, some 50km northeast of Denpasar, said at least nine residents sustained injures from the quake,

    mostly broken bones.

    "We have nobody killed, but we have nine injured," Martanto, the local police chief, said.

    He added that several buildings were damaged, including the local hospital where cracks had appeared in the walls and the roof.

    "We are still taking care of the victims in an emergency tent outside the hospital," Martanto said.

    A doctor at the hospital said people had been hurt in the panic of fleeing their homes.

    Tourists shaken

    Tourists visiting Bali said they had been shaken awake by the quake.

    Over 200 people were killed in
    bomb blasts in Bali in 2002

    "I woke up and felt shaking. I thought there was a ghost in the house," said Cecilia Leong, a Singapore tourist.

    "Then my boyfriend said it was an earthquake. We got out as fast as we could."

    The epicentre of the quake was in Lombok Strait, some 30km east of Bali.

    "I have been in some earthquakes before, but this was really different," said Graeme Fleming, a geologist working in Lombok.

    "It started building up. Slowly. It was rumbling and we could all feel it," he said.

    "Then it was a struggle to stay on our feet. We couldn't balance properly. It was definitely time to get out of the building, so we ran. The temblors went on and on".

    Earthquakes frequently hit Indonesia, which is located on the seismically active Pacific 'Ring of Fire', occasionally causing widespread

    damage and loss of life.

    In December 1992 an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale killed about 2200 people on the Indonesian island of
    Flores, east of


    A major earthquake measuring 6.8 on the same scale killed at least 30,000 people in Iran a week ago, while one measuring
    6.3 struck

    Mexico on Thursday.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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