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Strong earthquake rattles Indonesia’s Java island; 2 dead

  • Patients are evacuated outside a hospital following an earthquake in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. A strong earthquake shook the island of Java just before midnight Friday triggering a tsunami warning for parts of the main island's coastline. (AP Photo/Agus Fitrah) Agus Fitrah

  • Vehicles are stuck in traffic following an earthquake in Indonesia on Saturday. AP

  • People ride on their motorbikes as they try to reach higher ground amid fears of tsunami, following an earthquake in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. The strong earthquake shook the island of Java triggering a tsunami warning for parts of the main island's coastline. (AP Photo/Wagino) Wagino

  • Motorists are stuck in traffic as they try to reach higher ground amid fears of a tsunami, following an earthquake in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. The strong earthquake shook the island of Java triggering a tsunami warning for parts of the main island's coastline. (AP Photo/Wagino) Wagino


Associated Press
Friday, December 15, 2017

A strong earthquake shook Indonesia’s densely populated Java island on Friday night, killing two people and severely damaging dozens of homes near the epicenter.

The magnitude 6.5 quake struck at 11:47 p.m. and was felt across the island, including about 124 miles away in the capital Jakarta, where office towers and apartment buildings swayed. Powerful tremors lasted as much as 30 seconds in places.

Panicking people ran out of buildings in many areas and roads were clogged with motorbikes, cars and trucks as people fled coastal areas in fear of a tsunami.

Ahmad Solihin, a food vendor in a coastal area of the Sukabumi region, said his village was jolted by a 20-second tremor that cracked walls in his home. He fled on his motorbike with his wife and two children after neighbors shouted that water was coming, he said.

“People suddenly started running so I joined them,” said Solihin. More than 1,000 villagers in his area evacuated to higher ground and didn’t return until Saturday morning after authorities convinced them it was safe, he said.

A 62-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman were killed in building collapses, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Damage was heaviest in the Tasikmalaya, Pangandaran and Ciamis regions of West Java Province near the epicenter.

The earthquake was about 56 miles deep and located just inland, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It triggered a tsunami warning for parts of Java’s coastline that was lifted about two hours later. No significant waves were reported.

Several hospitals were damaged by the shaking and patients evacuated.

Indonesia sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.