Magnitude 6.7 quake off Turkish and Greek coasts kills two: USGS

ANKARA, July 21 (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.7 killed two people when it struck near major Turkish and Greek tourist destinations in the Aegean Sea on Friday, Turkish and Greek officials said.

The quake, which struck at 1:31 a.m. (2231 GMT on Thursday), was located off the southwestern coastal city of Marmaris in the Mugla province, the USGS said. It was close to the Turkish towns of Bodrum and Datca, and the Greek island of Kos in the Dodecanese Islands archipelago, all of which are major tourist destinations.

George Kyritsis, the mayor of Kos, told Reuters that at least two people were killed in the Greek island and several were injured by the quake.

"We have two dead and some people injured so far," Kos Mayor George Kyritsis told Reuters.

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Deadly earthquake hits Turkish and Greek coasts
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Deadly earthquake hits Turkish and Greek coasts
A man stands in front of a damaged building following an earthquake off the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
In this screen grab taken from a cell phone video, tourists stand outside of the the Marmara Club-Hotel after an earthquake in Theologos, Greece about 30 km from Rhodes on July 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sonia BAKARIC / BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE (Photo credit should read SONIA BAKARIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Damaged boats are seen after an earthquake and a tsunami in the resort town of Gumbet in Mugla province, Turkey, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
In this screen grab taken from a cell phone video, tourists stand outside of the the Marmara Club-Hotel after an earthquake in Theologos, Greece about 30 km from Rhodes on July 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Sonia BAKARIC / BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE (Photo credit should read SONIA BAKARIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A Greek Orthodox priest walks past a damaged church following an earthquake off the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man walks past the damaged Ottoman-era Defterdar mosque following an earthquake on the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Tourists arrive from the Greek island of Kos by boat after an earthquake to the Turkish resort town of Bodrum, Turkey, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz
A man walks past a damaged church following an earthquake off the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A car is seen under the debris of a collapsed building, after an earthquake off the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Icons are seen inside a damaged church following an earthquake off the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Medics transfer a woman injured during an earthquake off the island of Kos, to the hospital of the city of Heraklion on the island of Crete, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Stefanos Rapanis
Tourists look at the damaged Ottoman-era Defterdar mosque following an earthquake on the island of Kos, Greece July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
A damaged car and a house are seen after an earthquake in the village of Yaliciftlik near the resort town of Bodrum in Mugla province, Turkey, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz
Damaged boats are seen after an earthquake and a tsunami in the resort town of Gumbet in Mugla province, Turkey, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz
A woman sits outside of her damaged house after an earthquake in the village of Yaliciftlik near the resort town of Bodrum in Mugla province, Turkey, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz
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Greece's fire service said it had rescued three injured persons from a damaged building.

The chairman of Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Mehmet Halis Bilden, warned citizens about incoming aftershocks, and added there were no casualties or major damage in Turkey.

"Our people should know that aftershocks are continuing, so they should refrain from entering damaged or vulnerable structures," Bilden told broadcaster CNN Turk.

Data on AFAD's website showed at least 13 aftershocks (12 in Turkey and one in Greece) with 5 of them over 4.0 magnitude. One of the aftershocks was a magnitude 4.6 that struck at 1:52 a.m. (2252 GMT on Thursday).

Television footage from the Mugla province showed hundreds of people abandoning their buildings and waiting on the streets, as others ran away from buildings on roads. It showed cars shaking and products falling off shelves at stores across the region.

Mugla Governor Esengul Civelek told a news conference that initial reports showed there were no major damages and disruptions. She said a small number of people had suffered minor injuries and that authorities would provide supplies and assistance to citizens on the streets.

Mugla Mayor Osman Gurun said power outages affected certain parts of the province and that telephone operators experienced shortages due to overloads. Bodrum Mayor Mehmet Kocadon said the earthquake had caused minor cracks on some old buildings.

The European quake agency EMSC said a small tsunami could be caused by the quake, but Turkish broadcasters cited officials saying large waves were more likely.

The temblor, initially reported as a magnitude 6.9, was very shallow, only 6.2 miles below the seabed, the USGS said.

Turkey's AFAD said the temblor had a magnitude of 6.3, while local authorities said the quake was felt across the Aegean coast.

A magnitude 6.7 quake is considered strong and is capable of causing considerable damage, but the effects of this one would have been dampened by striking in the sea.

Turkey is prone to earthquakes because it is located between the Arabian plate and Eurasian plate.

More than 600 people died in October 2011 in Turkey's eastern province of Van after a quake of 7.2 magnitude and powerful aftershocks. In 1999, two massive earthquakes killed about 20,000 people in the densely populated northwest of the country. A 5.9 magnitude quake in 1999 killed 143 people in Greece.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara, Rene Maltezou and Michele Kambas in Athens, and Sandra Maler in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler)

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