An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 rattled central Croatia on Tuesday, killing seven people and injuring more than 20. Several neighbouring countries too were struck by the earthquake, officials and residents said. Rescuers pulled people from the rubble of collapsed buildings in Petrinja and other towns, and army troops were sent to the area to help.
Tremors were also felt in Croatia's capital Zagreb and as far away as Austria's capital Vienna. Slovenia shut its only nuclear power plant as a precaution.
It was the second quake to strike the area in two days. A video clip has gone viral where a minister was briefing the press about the previous day's earthquake and a stronger quake rocked the city. As the cameras were left on, the ground could be seen bouncing literally and buildings around falling flat on ground.
OMG .. really horrific. Looking like a shot from hollywood movie.— SwAyAm (@SwAyAm27782681) December 30, 2020
Hard to believe! Never seen earthquake footage even close to this!— Sheri 🏒 (@Drago_Lightning) December 30, 2020
I’ve never seen an earthquake this intense anywhere .. hope it didn’t do much damage..— Pranitha Sitharthan (@ThisIsPranitha) December 30, 2020
The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences said it hit at 1119 GMT at a depth of 10 km (6 miles), with the epicentre in Petrinja, 50 km south of Zagreb. State news agency Hina, citing firefighters, later reported that a seventh victim had been found in the rubble of a church in the village of Zazina.
Police said at least 20 people were slightly injured and six more severely wounded in the temblor. "The search through the rubble is continuing," police said in a statement.
Throughout the day many aftershocks occurred measuring 3.0 magnitude or slightly stronger.
Tomislav Fabijanic, head of emergency medical services in Sisak, said many people were wounded in Petrinja and Sisak and their injuries included fractures and concussions.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who rushed to Petrinja, said: "The army is here to help. We will have to move some people from Petrinja because it is unsafe to be here."
The N1 television station showed footage of rescuers in Petrinja pulling a man and a child alive from the debris. Other footage showed a house with its roof caved in. The N1 reporter said she did not know if anyone was inside.
N1 also said a kindergarten was destroyed in the quake but that there were no children in it at the time.
Piles of stone, brick and tiles littered Petrinja's streets in the aftermath of the quake, and cars parked in the road were smashed by falling debris.
A worker who had been fixing a roof in a village outside Petrinja told N1 that the quake threw him to the ground. Nine of the 10 houses in the village were destroyed, he said.
The quake was also felt in Zagreb, where people rushed onto the streets, some of which were strewn with broken roof tiles and other debris.
In Austria's second city Graz, about 200 km (130 miles) north of Petrinja, tall buildings wobbled for about two minutes, according to broadcaster ORF. In Carinthia province, about 300 km to the northwest of Petrinja, the earth trembled for several minutes and people described how their furniture, Christmas trees and lamps wobbled.
In Slovenia, the STA news agency said the country's sole nuclear power plant, 100 km (60 miles) from the epicentre, was shut down as a precaution.
Croatia's state news agency Hina said the quake was felt in a total of 12 countries.
Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said Croatia was expecting help from the European Union as it had activated its emergency situation mechanism.
In March, a temblor of magnitude 5.3 rattled Zagreb, causing one death and injuring 27 people.(with inputs from Reuters)