At least one dead as 6.5 magnitude earthquake hits off Java, Indonesia

JAKARTA - A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia's main island of Java late on Friday (Dec 15), leaving at least one person dead and rattling nerves in the capital Jakarta.

There was no immediate indication of a tsunami, but authorities said they had issued a warning following the tremor.

National disaster mitigation agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said a 62-year-old had died in the Ciamis region in West Java after becoming trapped in a collapsed house.

At least five other people were reported injured across the island as authorities continued to assess the damage from the quake, which hit just before midnight local time (1am Singapore time).

The 6.5-magnitude tremor was measured at a depth of 91km and struck less than a kilometre east-southeast of the coastal town of Cipatujah, the US Geological Survey said.

The earthquake was felt in the capital Jakarta, about 300km from the epicentre, as well as several other towns on Java.

Photo: USGS

Jakarta resident Web Warouw was on the 18th floor of a building in the capital when the quake struck.

"Suddenly, we felt dizzy, but constantly ... We then realised it was a quake and immediately ran downstairs," the 50-year-old told AFP.

People in the coastal city of Cilacap evacuated as a precaution fearing a tsunami.

Homes were also reported damaged in the city of Tasikmalaya, about 50km from the epicentre.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

An earthquake struck the country's western Aceh province in December 2016, killing more than 100 people, injuring many more and leaving tens of thousands homeless.