A massive earthquake erupted in the Aegean Sea early Friday, causing multistory buildings to collapse in the coastal Turkish city of Izmir and sending water surging through the streets amid tsunami warnings.
Eyewitness videos captured terrifying scenes. A seven-story residential building crumbled to the ground. Waist-high water gushed through the streets of the nearby town of Seferihisar. Environment Minister Murat Kurum said there were reports of people trapped under debris, mostly in Izmir’s Bayrakli neighborhood, according to televised remarks reported by The New York Times.
The 7.0-magnitude quake hit just off the Greek island of Samos, according to Turkish authorities. It rattled parts of Greece and was reportedly felt 200 miles away in Istanbul.
On Samos, a wall collapsed, killing two children in the town of Vathy, according to Greek news outlet Skai. An “extreme alert” tsunami warning was issued to island residents, sending panicked people running into the streets to get away from the shoreline and large buildings.
Water reportedly flooded some streets but the damage was unclear. Giorgos Dionysiou, deputy mayor of Samos, described it as “chaos.”
Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city with four million residents, appeared to take the brunt of it. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that four people were killed and at least 120 were injured, and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that at least six buildings were flattened. Rescue crews were on the scene searching for survivors.
It was the “biggest quake I have ever experienced,” Izmir resident Cenk Hosfikirer told the Times. “The lamps swung and the apartment door opened. At that moment, I thought, ‘Am I going to die?’”
Haluk Ozener, director of the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, told the Associated Press that a small tsunami hit Seferihisar, in Izmir Province.
Footage posted to Twitter appeared to show an ominous retreat of the water line near the coastal city, leaving boats marooned on sand and mud.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said the earthquake happened at a depth of 10.3 miles in the Aegean Sea—a relatively shallow epicenter. Because of this, aftershocks could continue for weeks, AP reported.