Holidaying Brits tell of terror after being caught in killer Greek island earthquake

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Brits caught up in the fatal earthquake which wreaked havoc on the Greek holiday resort island of Kos have spoken of their terror and panic.

Two tourists died and hundreds were injured after the 6.7-magnitude quake struck in the middle of Thursday night, bringing buildings crashing down in the island’s main square.

Holidaymakers across the island and in nearby Turkey were left shaken after their hotels “moved” and “shook” from the powerful tremors.

A mother and daughter from London who travelled to the island for a break following a sudden family death have revealed the frightening moment it struck.

Naomi Ruddock, 22, said: “We were asleep and we just felt the room shaking.

“The room moved. Literally everything was moving. And it kind of felt like you were on a boat and it was swaying really fast from side to side, you felt seasick.”

She stood outside with her mother Eleanor and fellow tourists for around 90 minutes after the quake hit, before going back into their rooms where they experienced aftershocks every 20 minutes.

Tourists wait at Kos airports after a killer earthquake struck Greek holiday islands (Reuters)

Ms Ruddock, who is due to graduate from Brighton University next week, said: “The restaurant manager just said that he’s never seen anything like this ever happen ever around this area or ever in Greece. He said it was like something out of a film, and it was.”

Lauren Duffy, a 20-year-old student from Merseyside, was evacuated along with her mother and sister from the island’s Atlantis Hotel, which was strewn with shattered glass. 

Naomi Ruddock, 22, and her mother Eleanor were caught up in the earthquake (PA)

She said: “We were asleep in our hotel room when we were woken by really violent shaking, and we all were screaming and told to evacuate from the hotel.” 

She said they were able to return to the hotel just long enough to retrieve their passports before they were forced out again by tremors.

Tom Perry-Fox, who was on the second floor of his hotel when the earthquake struck, said it was “like a movie”.

He told Sky News: “You’re scared for your life, you don’t know what’s happening.”

Diving instructor Christopher Hackland, from Edinburgh, described the moments the earthquake hit and the panic among tourists trying to escape the hotel.

He said: “The instant reaction was to get ourselves out of the (hotel) room. There was banging. There was shaking. The light was swinging, banging on the ceiling, crockery falling out of the cupboards, and pans were making noise.

“There was a lot of screaming and crying and hysterics coming from the hotel. It felt like being at a theme park with one of the illusions, an optical illusion where you feel like you’re upside down.”

London student Georgie Jamieson, who was holidaying in Kos with her family, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re all a bit shaken up. We had been having a lovely evening down in the hotel and got up to our room an hour before it struck.

“We were literally dozing off when the first tremor struck. From then on it was a bit of a surreal nightmarish experience.

“I was semi-conscious. At first I panicked and I was a bit fear-struck, but then slowly trying to process what was happening.

“Everything was shaking really vigorously. I’ve never felt anything like it before. Almost as if the ground was going to cave in.”

Two dead in earthquake that strikes Greek island of Kos

The effects of the quake were felt by people miles away from the epicentre.

Former Premiership footballer took to Twitter to say that he had been scared by the tremors while staying near the resort of Damalan in Turkey.

The ex-Bolton Wanderers and Wigan defended said: “Jesus just experienced earthquake in turkey, literally crapped myself room shaking allover place, Just stood outside now no sure what to do.”

Many ran from their homes or holiday apartments with pillows and blankets, according to one Briton who is staying in Didim, around 60 miles from the Turkish resort of Bodrum.

Kristian Stevens, from Nelson in Lancashire said he felt the building he was in “shake like a jelly”.

Sophie Wild said she fled her third floor accommodation in Altinkum, around 500 miles from Bodrum, when she woke to a loud banging noise.

The 21-year-old, from Canterbury, said: “When we realised it was an earthquake, we got an immediate sense to get out, we thought the building was going to crumble around us. We ran down our stairs.

“People were running out of rooms, banging on people’s doors to make sure they were out. Everyone just ran outside and waited for a couple of hours – it’s only now that people are starting to go back to their rooms. There are a few cracks in the walls but otherwise staff says it’s safe.”

The Foreign Office advised Britons in surrounding areas to follow the advice of local authorities and tour operators.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are speaking to the Turkish and Greek authorities following an earthquake off the coast of Bodrum and near the island of Kos.

“Any British people in the areas affected should follow the instructions of local authorities.”


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