JAKARTA (AFP) – A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Indonesia, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), sending people fleeing their homes but with no casualties or damage immediately reported.
The quake occurred in the waters off the southwestern coast of Sumatra island, at around 9.30pm – nearest to Bengkulu, South Sumatra and Lampung provinces.
It sent people in South Sumatra and Bengkulu rushing from their homes, according to local media and witnesses contacted by AFP.
However no casualties or damages were immediately reported by authorities, and USGS estimated that there would be little chance of damage on the ground in Sumatra island. No tsunami threat was issued.
But the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BKMG) advised residents to “watch out for possible aftershocks”.
It classified it as a 6.5-magnitude quake, and said its epicentre was in the sea about 64 kilometres from shore. Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.
The last major earthquake that hit the country was in March, when a 6.7-magnitude quake hit off Sumatra island’s west coast.
Residents of North Sumatra’s Nias and Hibala islands reported being shaken awake by the tremors.