A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 struck southern Japan early Saturday, barely 24 hours after a smaller quake hit the same region and killed nine people, the AP reports. While it was not immediately clear whether the latest quake increased the death toll, Japanese broadcaster NHK said a number of calls were coming in from residents reporting people being trapped inside houses and buildings. Video showed a resident, apparently rescued from underneath a collapsed house, on a stretcher being taken to a hospital by ambulance. The quake shook the Kumamoto region at 1:25am local time Saturday, and several aftershocks soon followed.
Thursday's weaker, magnitude 6.5 earthquake brought down buildings and injured about 800 people, in addition to the nine deaths. The epicenter of Saturday's earthquake was about 8 miles northwest of Thursday's, and at a depth of about 6 miles, Saturday's quake was shallower. It hit residents who were still in shock from the previous night's horrors and had suffered through more than 100 aftershocks in the interim. (Since Saturday's quake was bigger, Thursday's was technically a foreshock.) A bright spot broadcast repeatedly on television Friday was the overnight rescue of an apparently uninjured baby, wrapped in a blanket and carried out of the rubble of a collapsed home.