Thousands of Dutch holidaymakers are currently on the Greek island of Kos and Turkey’s southwest coast, where an earthquake struck in the early hours of Friday morning.
So far two people have been reported killed on Kos, a Turkish and a Swedish national, and 120 people were injured. It is not thought that anyone died in Turkey but over 70 people were hurt.
Eyewitness Dennis Hoekstra told RTL news ‘everything began to shake’.
‘We saw other tourists fleeing into the streets, some in their dressing gowns or underwear. One person was naked,’ he said. ‘I immediately apped my family to let them know I was okay.’
According to broadcaster NOS, several hotels on Kos used by the Dutch travel company Corendon, have been so badly damaged that holiday makers are being transferred to alternative accommodation. Some 1,800 Corendon customers are currently on the island.
People who wish to return home will have to wait until Saturday morning, when the next Corendon flight arrives, a spokesman told the broadcaster. The company is still trying to find out if people due to leave for the holiday island on Saturday can stay at the hotels of their choice.
Dutch travel firm TUI has some 2,700 people on Kos and a spokesman said one hotel it uses has been evacuated.
Airline Transavia did carry out its regular Friday charter service to Kos, which was delayed because of uncertainty about conditions at the airport. However, many other flights to and from the island were cancelled, AP reported.
NOS correspondent Conny Keessen said that a major rescue operation has now been launched and that the injured are being taken to Rhodes and Athens. ‘Helicopters are on their way. Ships cannot more in the harbour because of the damage.’
Older buildings in particular have been damaged in Kos, Keessen said.
The quake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, was centred near the Turkish resort of Bodrum.
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