Indonesia Quake Toll Hits 75; Thousands Trapped

Death toll at 75 and rising quickly
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 30, 2009 12:44 PM CDT
A geologist looks at a screen showing the seismograph reading of the powerful earthquake that rocked Sumatra island at the office of Indonesia's meteorological agency in Jakarta.   (Irwin Fedriansyah)
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(Newser) – The powerful earthquake that rocked western Indonesia today has trapped thousands under collapsed buildings—including two hospitals—and triggered landslides. At least 75 people were killed on Sumatra island, and the death toll was expected to climb sharply.
The magnitude 7.6 temblor comes a day after a quake in the South Pacific triggered a deadly tsunami in Samoa.

When the Indonesia quake struck, the ground shook so hard that people sat on the streets to avoid falling over, TV footage showed. Children screamed as residents tried to put out fires, and thousands fled the coast in cars and motorbikes. "Many buildings are badly damaged, including hotels and mosques," said one official.