A second tremor and more than 20 aftershocks followed. The epicenter was in the Adriatic Sea between Italy and Croatia at a depth of 25 kilometers and 64 kilometers east of Rimini, according to the Italian Institute for Earthquakes and Volcanology (INGV). The coastal town of Senigallia was particularly hard hit. For the time being, damage to buildings was reported, but no injuries.
The first two tremors after 7 a.m. were clearly felt in several northern and central Italian regions as well as in Trentino, South Tyrol and Rome. People ran into the streets, the fire department was inundated with calls from concerned citizens. The earthquake was also clearly felt in Carinthia – especially in Klagenfurt and Villach, as the Austrian Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) announced.
In the seaside resort of Rimini, too, people ran outside in panic. Many hotels have been evacuated. Tourists stormed the train station hoping to get out of town. Damage was reported to buildings. Rail traffic was interrupted for controls near the Adriatic port of Ancona. Some people got stuck in elevators.
In the Adriatic port city of Ancona, from where ferries depart for Croatia and Greece, several buildings, including a hospital, had to be evacuated as a precaution. Patients at the Villa Igea private clinic in Ancona fled into the street in their nightgowns. Ancona train station has been closed. Schools were closed on Wednesday throughout the Marche region.
“At the moment there is no major damage, but we are carrying out all possible checks in public buildings. The shock was great because the earthquakes were severe and we fear aftershocks,” emphasized the mayor of the art city of Pesaro, Matteo Ricci. Investigations have been launched to determine if the earthquake caused damage to the Renaissance city’s museums and churches.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s office said the head of government was in constant contact with the civil protection agency and the head of government for the Marche region. The Adriatic region around Ancona and Senigallia had already been shaken by a natural disaster in mid-September. After a night of heavy rain, the streets of some towns had turned into rivers. 13 people died and 90 people had to leave their badly damaged houses.
The Mediterranean region is one of the most active earthquake regions in Europe. The central Italian Apennine town of L’Aquila was shaken by a severe earthquake in 2009 that killed over 300 people. In August 2016, almost 300 people died when a magnitude 6.2 earthquake shook the town of Amatrice and several neighboring towns in the Appennine mountains.