Tremors were felt in many parts of Singapore and scores of office workers fled from high-rise buildings soon after a powerful earthquake hit Sumatra, Indonesia on Wednesday, causing buildings to sway in the capital, and authorities issued a tsunami warning.
The earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck at 6:10 pm (1110 GMT) in the sea some 100 km southwest of the city of Bengkulu, at a depth of roughly 15 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
Tsunami alerts were issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre for the entire Indian Ocean region following the quake, but Indonesia has since lifted the alerts, citing no threat of tsunamis.
The quake was strongly felt in the capital Jakarta, some 600 km away, with tall buildings swaying.
Indonesia was the nation worst hit by the earthquake-triggered tsunami of December 2004, which killed some 168,000 people in Aceh province alone.
The archipelago nation sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.
Tremors were felt in many parts of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Many readers rang The Straits Times hotline to report that they felt their buildings swaying and high-rise residents fleeing from their offices and apartments in Marine Parade, Punggol, Serangoon and central Singapore. Some also reported cracks opening on the roads
" My fish tank was shaking. The water spilled out," said Mr Lim who lives in Punggol.
Mr Robert Chua said many of neighbours ran out from their flats in his block and gathered in the open.
Another office worker in Toa Payoh, Ms J.W Chen told The Straits Times: "I was standing and reading the newspapers when I started swaying and felt giddy.
"Then I looked up and saw the big aircon duct moving. The light boxes and other air ducts and water pipes also swayed a few inches from their still position non-stop for a few minutes. My colleague and I didn't want to wait and see, so we got into the lift and rushed out to the street across."
Said Helan who works in Millenia Tower: "We feel our body swapping itself."
An AsiaOne reader sent in this posting: "I am still at my office in Parkview Sqaure in Bugis. I felt the building swayed but I thought it was just me. My sister called me 20 minutes later and told me that Indonesia has been hit by a 7.9 magnitude quake. So that explained why I felt dizzy earlier. We are still working at our office here. Hopefully those people directly hit by the quake are safe."
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