Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hindu temples crumble and dozens injured as earthquake shakes Bali

Latest News - AT least 50 people were injured - some critically - when a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Bali today, causing panic in tourist areas as people fled buildings that cracked in the strong shake.

Ceilings caved in at some schools and offices, while several ancient Hindu temples along the coast were damaged, with stones tumbling to the ground and their walls crumbling, the Herald Sun reported.

A small aftershock more than four hours after the main quake also caused residents to flee buildings, although no further damage was apparent.

Although not strong enough to trigger a tsunami, the quake was felt on neighbouring Java and Lombok islands.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake's epicentre was in the ocean 100km southwest of Bali's capital Denpasar, measuring the magnitude at 6.0 with a depth at 61km.

Indonesian authorities said the quake, which struck at 2.16pm AEDT, had a magnitude of 6.8 and struck at a depth of 10km.

At least 50 people were hurt, many with cuts, broken bones and head wounds, Wayan Sudanti, a Bali hospital spokesman, told the Jakarta Globe.

Three were in a critical condition, he said.

They included 12 students and three teachers injured when the ceiling of their high school caved in, said I Gede Tejo from the local disaster agency.

But Ken Wirasandhi, a doctor from Sanglah hospital, said 44 people, mostly students, were treated for cuts and head injuries.

"Two students are still under observation. They suffered head wounds when roof tiles crashed on them. The others received outpatient treatment for cuts and have gone home," he told AFP.

Over a dozen students - their uniforms torn and blood-stained - were crying and clutching their bleeding heads at the hospital.

"We panicked and ran out of our classroom but something fell on us when we were running outside," high-school student Valentina said.

Hundreds of terrified tourists on Kuta's beach strip raced from their hotels, officials and hotel staff said.

"It was a chaotic scene. Tourists dashed out of their hotels to the roads screaming 'Quake! Quake!'," Bali Hotels and

Restaurant Association secretary general Perry Markus said.

Stephanie Fleming, a Briton who works for a tourism company in the Seminyak area close to Kuta, said her office shook violently for around a minute.

"It happened so quickly. Everything was shaking and the doors were banging open and shut. We didn't really know what to do so we all ran out onto the street," she said.

"It looked like a wall in our office was about to fall down, but all the structures outside seem more or less intact."

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the Australian Consulate-General in Bali was urgently seeking to confirm whether any Australians were affected by the quake.

"There have been no reports to date of any Australians affected,'' she said.

"The US Geological Survey advised the earthquake was unlikely to cause a tsunami.''

Bali boy OK after building evacuated

The quake caused the evacuation of the police headquarters in Denpasar where a 14-year-old Australian boy is being detained.

Hundreds of people poured out of the police headquarters and surrounding buildings after the quake struck, but the prisoners at the police lock-up were reportedly kept inside the building after being let out of their cells.
The schoolboy, who was arrested in Bali for alleged drug possession, is holding up well despite facing a second weekend in detention, and having also experienced the shock of an earthquake while in custody, his lawyer says.

The teen, from Morisset Park south of Newcastle, was preparing for his 10th night in custody after being rattled by the large quake earlier in the day.

It's understood the teenager was with his parents when the quake struck, not in his cell at the drug squad office at the Bali Police headquarters in Denpasar.

While hundreds of police and staff ran into a courtyard at the compound when the quake hit, the boy remained indoors as the building shook for almost a minute.

All other prisoners at the police lock-up remained behind bars.

His lawyer, Mohammad Rifan, said the year nine student was in good spirits despite being shaken by the quake, which hit about 100 kilometres southwest of the popular holiday island about 11.15pm local time (2.15pm AEDT).

"He is in a good condition," Mr Rifan told AAP.

The Australian Consul-General in Bali, Brett Farmer, who visited the boy and his parents two hours after the quake struck, said he had no concerns for his welfare.

"The investigators were assisting him with an evacuation, but he's fine," Mr Farmer said.

Mulyadi, the Bali Police narcotics squad chief, has told AAP he hopes to hand the case over to prosecutors on Friday.

But the boy, arrested on Tuesday last week after allegedly being caught with 3.6 grams of marijuana, is likely to remain at police headquarters over the weekend.

It's believed authorities may then move him to another location.

He is expected to be charged with drug offences, but is likely to be ordered to undergo rehabilitation instead of being given a custodial sentence.

Footy stars react

Footy players holidaying on the island were quick to react to the quake on Twitter.

Collingwood's Travis Cloke posted: "Ok that was different, earth quake in Bali. It was a good 20sec of rock and rolling!". 

St Kilda's Jason Gram didn't seem the worse for wear, tweeting: "Just had my 1st earthquake hahaha awesome".

Supermarket ceiling collapse

Early reports from other Australians in Bali suggested sections of a supermarket ceiling in the popular Seminyak area had collapsed but no shoppers are believed to be injured.

Jack Chisholm, who runs a surfing business two blocks from the supermarket, said he felt the ground start to shake shortly after lunch today.

"It was like you were standing on the deck of a boat in a heavy sea,’’ the former Geelong resident said.

Radio 3AW reporter Larisa Tait, at a resort near Seminyak, was among the large numbers of Australians holidaying in the region.

"We were all lying by the pool, and the ground started rumbling beneath us … we thought it may have been construction down the road, but then staff came running, yelling earthquake! earthquake!"

"There was quite a big shake at the end, it probably only lasted 20 to 30 seconds."

Bali quake supermarket

Bali quake supermarket
Products knocked from supermarket shelves after a quake struck Bali today. Picture: @arthermulyadi / Twitpic
Source: Supplied

Products knocked from supermarket shelves after a quake struck Bali today. Picture: @arthermulyadi / Twitpic

Strong shaking was felt for several minutes in the main tourist district of Kuta, said Endro Tjahjono from the Bali office of Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.

"There was panic, everyone ran out of the buildings. When we returned to our office building, we saw some cracks on the wall and plaster had come off the walls,'' he told AFP.

Hundreds of tourists and staff were also evacuated from Hardy's, a major department store in the town of Sanur.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire'', where the meeting of continental plates causes high seismic activity, and is frequently hit by earthquakes.

A giant quake off the country on December 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.

Quake hits off US

Meanwhile, a moderate 5.9-magnitude earthquake also rumbled off the coast of the US state of Oregon, the US geological survey said.

There was no immediate tsunami warning or reports of damage.

The USGS said the epicentre was 221km west of the seaside town of Bandon in the southern part of the northwestern US state, at a depth of 10km below the earth's surface.

If you have concerns for family in Bali, or you are in Bali and need assistance, call the DFAT emergency hotline on 1300 555 135 (Outside Australia +61 2 6261 3305)


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