A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, killing at least 75 people and sparking panic as it collapsed buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete.

Desperate survivors dug Sunday into the rubble with their bare hands, trying to rescue the trapped and injured.

State-run TRT television reported that 59 people were killed and 150 injured in the eastern town of Ercis, and 15 others died in the  provincial center of Van. Another person died in the nearby province of Bitlis.

Ercis, a city of 75,000 in the mountainous province of Van close to the Iranian border, was the hardest hit. It lies on the Ercis Fault in one of Turkey's most earthquake-prone zones. Van, 55 miles (90 kilometers) to the south, also suffered substantial damage.