Turkish quake kills two, injures 79 - minister

Fri May 20, 2011 4:59am GMT

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - An earthquake which shook northwest Turkey on Thursday night killed two people and injured 79, Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu said on Friday.

One of the injured was badly hurt, broadcasters quoted the minister as saying. One of the dead was thought to have succumbed to a heart attack.

The quake, which had a magnitude of 5.9 according to Turkey's Kandilli earthquake observatory, struck at 1115 pm (9:15 p.m. British time) in Simav, 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Kutahya.

The U.S. Geological Survey had initially recorded a 6.0 magnitude for the quake. There was a series of aftershocks.

Kutahya Governor Kenan Ciftci, who said on Thursday night one person died jumping from a building as the quake struck, said a total of three people had been killed.

The tremor also shook buildings further north in Turkey's largest city Istanbul and across western Turkey.

An empty university building collapsed in the quake, which also shattered windows in some buildings, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

Residents of Kutahya waited nervously in the town's streets after the quake, television pictures showed.

Major geological faultiness cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Stamp)

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