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Tourists flee Thailand's beach after Phuket quake

Publication Date : 17-04-2012


People on the famous Thai tourist island of Phuket got another scare yesterday when a 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck at 4.44pm in Thalang district, Phuket province.

"The shaking lasted for about a minute and then stopped," Weerasak Lawtongkum of Vachira Phuket Hospital said. He was on the first floor of his house when he felt the tremors and decided to dash outside.

Burin Wejbanterng, acting director of the Seismology Office, said the quake in Phuket originated from the Khlong Marui fault. At Central Festival Phuket, shoppers stampeded outside and gathered in front of the mall.

Many tourists were seen running away from the beach.

Some residents grabbed their belongings and headed for Phuket Provincial Hall, believing the disaster might force them to move into an evacuation centre.

One house in Ban Sapa of Mueang district suffered some damage.

The Khlong Marui fault stretches for 148 kilometres from Surat Thani to Phang Nga, the Andaman Sea and Phuket.

Authorities initially thought the tremor felt in Phuket was related to the 5.6-magnitude quake off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra that was measured at 4.46pm.

"However, given its magnitude, we noticed the tremor should have not been felt so acutely here. We rechecked and now we realise that there was another quake right here in Phuket," said Phuwiang Prakhammin, spokesman for the Meteorological Department.

This quake showed that the massive earthquakes off Sumatra last week had affected the faults in Thailand.

Two massive earthquakes shook Indonesia on April 11 and triggered tsunami alerts. Although no devastating tidal waves came that day, many aftershocks have followed.


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