Two Earthquakes Rattle Indonesia [VIDEO]
A tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean has been lifted hours after two powerful earthquakes hit off
Indonesia's western coast.
The 8.6- and 8.2-magnitude earthquakes triggered panic Wednesday afternoon. Residents in coastal cities fled to high ground in cars and on the backs of motorcycles.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii lifted a tsunami watch for most areas of the Indian Ocean about four hours after the first quake.
It was still in effect for Indonesia, India, the
Maldives, Sri Lanka and the island territory of Diego Garcia.
Major damage or tsunami waves locally were not reported.
Said, an official at Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency who goes by only one name, said a tsunami warning has been issued for cities all along the coast of Sumatra island.
There was chaos in the streets, with fierce shaking continuing for nearly four minutes.
"I was in the shower on the fifth floor of my hotel," Timbang Pangaribuan told El Shinta radio from the city of Medan. "We all ran out. ... We're all standing outside now."
He said one guest was injured when he jumped from the window of his room.
The tremor was felt in Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia's west coast shook for at least a minute.
Thailand's National Disaster Warning Center issued an evacuation order to residents in six provinces along the country's west coast, including the popular tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga.
Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that makes the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.
A giant 9.1-magnitude quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, nearly three quarter of them in Aceh.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)