Deadly earthquakes hit Lorca, Spain (VIDEO)


View of cars crashed by debris from a collapsed building in Lorca, Spain, on May 11, 2011, after an earthquake killed at least 10 people.


Jorge Guerrero

Two earthquakes hit Spain's southeastern Murcia region in rapid succession Wednesday afternoon, killing as many as 10 people, injuring dozens and causing serious damage.

The epicenters of the earthquakes were a few kilometers outside the town of Lorca. The earthquakes, which caused the highest quake-related death toll in Spain in 50 years, measured 4.5 and 5.1 magnitude, according to the U.S.Geological Survey.

Officials told the Associated Press that dozens of people were being treated at the scene of the quakes and a field hospital was set up in Lorca. Patients were being evacuated from a hospital in Lorca that suffered quake damage.

The Spanish prime minister's office put the death toll at 10, AP reports. It states that those deaths occurred during the second quake. The New York Times was reporting 9 dead.

The Defense Ministry sent 200 emergency members to the area.

Additional tremors forced thousands of people to flee their homes, with many spending the night in shelters or camped out in open spaces.

"I felt a tremendously strong movement, followed by a lot of noise, and I was really frightened," Lorca resident Juani Avellanada told the newspaper El Pais.

A BBC reader Dilys Hunt wrote in: "I was sitting in the car when I heard what sounded like an express train going overhead and the ground and the building and all the cars shook very violently. It lasted about 30 seconds."

This was Spain's deadliest quake since 1956, when 12 people died.