37 people killed in Indonesia earthquake
JAKARTA, Jan 15: A powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia's Sulawesi island Friday, killing at least 37 people, levelling a hospital and severely damaging other buildings, authorities said, as they warned there were people still trapped beneath rubble.
Hundreds were also injured when the 6.2-magnitude quake struck in the early hours, triggering panic among the terrified residents of the island, which was hit by a huge quake and tsunami two and a half years ago that killed thousands.
So far, 29 bodies have been hauled from beneath crumpled buildings in Mamuju, a city of about 110,000 in West Sulawesi province, while another eight were killed south of the area after the quake struck.
"We don't know how many more are missing," said Arianto from the rescue agency in Mamuju, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
"There are still people trapped beneath the rubble."
Rescuers were searching for more than a dozen patients and staff trapped under a levelled Mamuju hospital.
"The hospital is flattened -- it collapsed," Arianto said.
Earlier Friday, rescuers said they were also trying to reach a family of eight who were under their destroyed home.
At least one hotel had partially collapsed, while the regional governor's office also suffered extensive damage after the quake struck at 2:18 am local time Friday (1818 GMT Thursday).
A Mamuju resident said damage across the city was severe.
"Roads are cracked and many buildings collapsed," said 28-year-old Hendra, who also goes by one name.
"The quake was very strong... I woke up and ran away with my wife."
Images from the scene showed residents trying to flee the seaside city in cars and motorbikes as they drove past corrugated metal roofs and other building debris scattered on the roadside.
But landslides triggered by heavy rains and the quake blocked the main access road out of Mamuju. -AFP