ATHENS: A strong earthquake struck the Greek island of Crete early Monday, killing a man who was working in a church that collapsed and injuring nine others, the civil protection agency said.
The quake, measuring magnitude 5.8 according to the National Observatory of Athens, struck at 0617 GMT, 23 kilometres (14 miles) from Heraklion, the capital of Greece's largest island.
The quake sent panicked residents rushing into the streets and damaged old buildings.
The man died in the farming town of Arkalochori which was particularly badly hit, said Spiros Georgiou, spokesman for the civil protection agency.
He said nine people were slightly injured.
Images on ERT public television showed old buildings that had collapsed in Arkalochori and surrounding villages near Heraklion.
"It's an earthquake that we did not expect, for the moment there are aftershocks of 4.5", said seismologist Efthymis Lekkas, quoted by the ANA news agency.
The minister for civil protection Christos Stylianides, accompanied by Lekkas and other experts were to visit the site later Monday, ERT said.
Greece is located on a number of fault lines, and is sporadically hit by earthquakes.
In October, 2020 a magnitude 7.0 hit in the Aegean Sea between the Greek island of Samos and the city of Izmir in western Turkey.
Most of the damage was in Turkey where 114 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured.
In Greece, two teenagers were reported dead on Samos.