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236 Luxembourg tourists were in Kos when the quake struck
World

236 Luxembourg tourists were in Kos when the quake struck

1 3 min. 22.07.2017 From our online archive
Two people were killed and hundreds injured on the Greek island of Kos when an earthquake shook popular Greek and Turkish holiday destinations in the Aegean Sea on Friday.

236 LuxairTours clients were on holiday in Kos when the 6.7-magnitude undersea quake struck in the early hours of Friday between the Greek island and Bodrum in Turkey.

In a statement released on Friday, the Luxembourg-based tour operator confirmed that "no LuxairTours clients were injured or harmed during the earthquake". 

When contacted by the company, 59 people expressed their wish to return to Luxembourg as soon as possible, and an additional flight was scheduled from Kos to the Grand Duchy already on Friday. 

Luxair is in permanent contact with Greek authorities as well as their on-site guides and is set to operate a new flight to Kos on Sunday 23 July. 

Customers who booked their holidays in Kos, but no longer wish to travel tomorrow, may rebook or cancel their reservations at no extra cost. 

To receive more information, you may call the LuxairTours Customer Service center on +352 2456-1.  

Greek holiday isle battles to recover from deadly quake

The Greek holiday island of Kos on Saturday was struggling to recover from a quake that killed two people and injured hundreds, with tourists facing flight delays and the damaged main harbour closed for a second day.

The 6.7-magnitude tremor also left hundreds more injured in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, just about 20 kilometres across the sea from Kos.

"Given the amount of people outside at the time, having only two victims is a miracle," deputy Kos mayor David Yerasklis told Kathimerini daily.

The undersea quake struck at 1:31 am Friday between Kos and Bodrum. At the time, tourists in both places were out enjoying the nightlife.

On Kos, the upper facade of a two-storey nightclub collapsed on people outside, killing a 22-year-old Swede and a 39-year-old Turk.

Another 120 people were hurt, seven of them seriously, while some 360 people were injured in Bodrum -- many after jumping out of windows.

The badly injured on Kos were flown to hospitals in Athens and Crete, including two men from Sweden and Norway who are in critical condition.

The hospital on Crete on Saturday said the 23-year-old Norwegian -- who had lost his lower leg early on -- had to have his other leg amputated.

The 21-year-old Swede has serious head injuries and broken bones.

Police on Friday had given their nationalities in the inverse order. Another 20 people remained hospitalised in Turkey, said Turkish Prime

Minister Binali Yildirim, who sent his sympathies said that "Hardship, like joy, is shared where neighbours are concerned."

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Kos is one of Greece's top travel destinations, and particularly popular with British and Scandinavian tourists.

No "dramatisation"

The quake struck at the height of the tourism season, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday warned against "dramatising" the issue. "Creating a climate of exaggeration and dramatisation does not help restoring normality in daily life on the island," Tsipras' office said in a statement. 

Government officials and expert divers on Saturday were inspecting the harbour, which was cracked asunder by the tremor and has been declared unsafe for use.

But the rest of island's infrastructure is mostly intact, they stress. Ferries have been rerouted to the smaller port town of Kefalos in west Kos until repairs are made.

Some residents spent the night outdoors, setting up tents in parks and squares, but officials noted that the majority of hotels were unaffected by the quake.

At Kos airport, delays were noted for a second straight day with over 50 outgoing flights scheduled. Over a dozen flights had landed by mid-morning.

"There is no problem at the hotels, the tourists have dealt calmly with developments," Constantina Svynou, head of the local hotelier association, told Ta Nea daily.

Some areas of the port town were still without water, however.

No injuries were reported among the 800 migrants and refugees housed on the island, which is one of the main gateways into Europe for people fleeing war and poverty.

But asylum procedures have been curtailed until at least Monday as the quake damaged passport inspection facilities at the harbour.

Many archaeological and medieval monuments -- including the medieval Knights of St John fortifications near where the deaths occurred -- have also been closed until further notice.

Turkey and Greece sit on significant fault lines and have regularly been hit by earthquakes in recent years.

This year alone, Turkey's western Aegean coast was hit by several significant earthquakes.

In June, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake gutted a village on the Greek island of Lesbos, killing a woman and leaving more than 15 injured.

(Reporting by AFP and Roxana Mironescu)