37 hospitalized after earthquake rock in Turkey

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake, the fourth strong temblor to rock a western Turkish city, shook already terrified residents in their beds early Friday. Thirty-seven people were hospitalized after suffering panic attacks or injuring themselves in jumping from windows or balconies. An elderly man died of a heart attack at the stairs of his apartment building.

Authorities reported minor earthquake damage in and around the Aegean port city of Izmir. Gov. Oguz Kagan Kцksal of Izmir province said the roofs of five buildings in the city had been damaged. Authorities evacuated at least one hospital after the quake cracked some of its walls.

A total of 37 people were hospitalized, some with broken bones after jumping from windows or balconies, and others after suffering panic attacks, the Anatolia news agency reported Friday. One person was seriously injured when he fell on his head, and underwent surgery, the agency said.

A 68-year-old man died of a heart attack as he attempted to escape his apartment building. His body was found in the stairs of the building, Anatolia reported. Two other people who also suffered heart attacks were in stable condition, the agency said.

Some 20 traffic accidents occurred in Izmir, as residents hurried to leave their houses after the quake, police chief Halil Tatas said.

The quake was centered in the town of Seferihisar, just outside Izmir, the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory said. However, it was felt as far away as in parts of Istanbul and on the Greek islands of Chios and Mytilini, near the Turkish coast.

There were no reports of damage or injuries in Greece.

Seismologists warned residents to expect more temblors and not to enter damaged houses.

Schools were ordered closed for Friday for inspections by experts.

A string of earthquakes shook Izmir on Monday with magnitudes of 5.9, 5.7 and 5.6, according to the AP.

Izmir is an Aegean important port and Turkey's third largest city.

Quakes are frequent in Turkey, which lies atop the active North Anatolian fault. Ruptures in the fault caused two quakes in August and November of 1999 that killed some 18,000 people and devastated large parts of northwestern Turkey.


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