Magnitude-6.6 underwater earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

Author: the associated press

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – A 6.6-magnitude quake hit Indonesian waters early Saturday, panicking people and several houses were reported damage but no immediate reports of casualties, officials said.

The quake, struck at 00:53 a.m. Saturday (1553 GMT Friday), was centered about 28 kilometers (17 miles) north of Sorong, a town of Indonesia’s West Papua province, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site. It occurred at a depth of 24 kilometers (15 miles).

Hundreds of people fled their homes in panic in Sorong and Manokwari city, 315 kilometer (195 miles) to the west, and several houses were reported damage, said Karel Roni, the operational chief at Sorong Search and Rescue Agency.

He said no immediate reports on casualties and rescuers are still collecting data on damages and injuries.

Indonesia’s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency put the underwater quake’s preliminary magnitude at 6.8 but has no potential to generate tsunami waves along nearby coasts, said Budi Waluyo from the agency.

The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In 2004, a monster temblor off Aceh shores triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. Most of the deaths were in Aceh.

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