Athens residents flee as strong quake shakes Greek capital

People stand on street corners in the Kolonaki neighborhood in central Athens after the quake struck the area on Friday

People stand on street corners in the Kolonaki neighborhood in central Athens after the quake struck the area on Friday

An quake hit Athens, Greece, on Friday, causing strong shaking in the capital city.

A 5.1 magnitude natural disaster struck Greece about 25 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of Athens on Friday, followed by a series of aftershocks. The shaking was caught on live cameras in the studios of state broadcaster ERT.

After Friday's quake, fire brigades reported receiving dozens of calls about people trapped in elevators.

The US geological institute said Friday's quake had a magnitude of 5.3.

Athenians ran out into the streets and evacuated tall buildings as the tremor shook the capital for some 15 seconds. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

"I urge members of the public to remains calm, in Greece we are well acquainted with earthquakes", he said.

The last major quake in Athens was in 1999, when 143 people were killed and numerous buildings collapsed or were seriously damaged.

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"It was a very intense quake, we were terrified, everyone started coming out (of the building)", said Katerina, who works in a six-storey cosmetics store.

"For the time being we can not be sure whether this was the main natural disaster", seismologist Gerassimos Papadopoulos told ERT.

"There is no reason for concern".

Greece, one of the most earthquake-prone countries in Europe, is situated at a convergence point where three massive plates of the Earth's crust - Eurasian, Arabic and African - grind together.

The quake struck at around 1100 GMT, sending anxious residents and office staff onto the street.

Seismologist Manolis Skordilis told Greece's Star TV: "The quake was close to the surface, which is why it was felt so much".

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