Strong 6.3 magnitude earthquake hits central Croatia

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — A strong earthquake hit central Croatia on Tuesday, causing considerable damage to homes and other buildings in a town southeast of Zagreb, the capital. A man and a boy were pulled out alive from a car buried in rubble and sent to a hospital.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center said an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude hit 46 kilometers (17 miles) southeast of Zagreb. Initial reports said the earthquake caused wide damage, collapsing roofs, building facades and even some entire buildings.

The same area was struck by a 5.2 quake on Monday and several smaller aftershocks were felt Tuesday.

The regional N1 television reported live Tuesday from the town of Petrinja, which was hard-hit in the Monday quake, that a collapsed building had fallen on a car. The footage showed firefighters trying to remove the debris to reach the car, which was buried underneath. A man and a small boy were rescued from the car and carried into an ambulance.

In Petrinja, streets were littered with fallen bricks and dust and many houses were completely destroyed. The Croatian military was deployed in Petrinja to help with the rescue operation.

Croatian media said people were injured by the quake, but could not initially say how many amid the confusion and downed phone lines.

Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk described the earthquake as “extremely strong,” far stronger than another one that hit Zagreb and nearby areas in spring. He warned people to keep out of potentially shaky, old buildings and move to the newer areas of the city because of the aftershocks.

In Zagreb, people ran out into the streets and parks in fear. Many reportedly were leaving the city, ignoring a travel ban imposed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The earthquake Tuesday was felt throughout the country and in neighboring Serbia and Bosnia. It even was felt as far away as Graz in southern Austria, the Austria Press Agency reported.