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Quake hits South Africa, 1 killed

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - An earthquake shook buildings in Johannesburg and surrounding areas in South Africa's most populous province on Tuesday. At least one person was killed and three were injured, medical staff said.

The magnitude-5.3 quake was centered in Orkney, 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Johannesburg, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

One man died when a wall of a disused mining building fell on him, said Werner Vermaak, a spokesman for emergency responders working in the Orkney area, a center of gold-mining operations. Mine managers ordered the evacuation of workers from shafts and there were no immediate reports of casualties underground, Vermaak said.

Three people were hurt when the quake damaged a training center at a mine, said Phoka Sefali, a receptionist at a hospital in Orkney.

"The roof fell on them, but they haven't got serious injuries," he said.

Hospital staff were on standby, awaiting the outcome of safety checks on miners who were underground at the time of the earthquake, Sefali said.

Quakes are a concern to mining companies that operate around Johannesburg, the biggest city in Gauteng province. Mining is a traditional pillar of industry in South Africa.

Lindy Sirayi, a guesthouse owner in Orkney, said the tremor broke glass lampshades and cracked a wall, and that dogs started barking during the quake, which lasted about a minute. Aftershocks were felt, but the electricity in the guesthouse stayed on, Sirayi said.

The quake was also felt in Pretoria, the South African capital, and Hartbeespoort, a nearby resort town.

The area has periodic, moderate tremors, though the quake on Tuesday was one of the strongest in recent years.

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bjredmond64 August 05 2014 at 11:24 AM

lots of earthquakes. getting bigger and closer together. along with all the other atural catastrophies happening world wide, i think we can accept we are in the end times. when you see these thing happening, look up. Christ is coming back soon.

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