Teenager dies as powerful 5.3 earthquake hits Croatia during coronavirus crisis

A 15-year-old has died after being found under rubble following a powerful earthquake in Croatia during the coronavirus crisis.

The quake caused buildings to collapse and cars to be crushed, a famous cathedral was damaged and electricity and internet service were cut off.

Health officials said the teen was found under a collapsed building.

Zarko Rasic, the head of the Zagreb Emergency Medicine Institute said an ambulance team found the child, but they "no longer showed signs of life".

More than a dozen people were injured as the magnitude 5.3 tremor jolted residents from their sleep and sent terrified people – some half-naked – rushing into the streets as their homes shook.

It was followed by several strong aftershocks on Sunday morning as leaders appealed for them to follow social distancing advice issued during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Are you in Croatia? Did you feel the earthquake? Email [email protected]


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Shocking images show the damaged Zagreb cathedral, where a spire partially collapsed, as well as buildings that crumbled, sending debris on top of cars and filling streets with rubble.

Experts said the quake struck at a depth of six miles just north of Zagreb and had an initial reading of 6.0, which was later downgraded to 5.3.

A child was injured when a roof collapsed on top of them and firefighters were "overwhelmed" as they received a huge number of calls for help, Sata 24 reported.

It said more than a dozen people were injured and the quake had damaged a number of key buildings, including a children's hospital.


A witness said: "It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt."

“It felt like a train was coming through my apartment, in all my time in the city I have never felt anything like that before,” a local resident told the Dubrovnik Times.

A Zagreb resident wrote on the Volcano Discovery website: "I was in bed with my partner. This morning. We felt the earth move. We ran outside, half naked and my new BMW had been crushed!"

The tremor was felt in Austria, where a resident of Graz wrote: "I thought at first it was a strong wind, because windows were shaking. Than I felt the entire house shaking."

Croatia's seismologist Ines Ivancic said the tremor was strong and the internet was down in some areas.

A Reuters reporter on the scene saw a church bell tower damaged and people taking to the streets.


Croatia's Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic appealed via his Twitter account to people in the streets to keep social distance among themselves as the country struggles to the contain coronavirus spread.

So far, the country has reported 206 cases of coronavirus and one death.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.4, while European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported 5.3 magnitude, followed by another 5.1 magnitude earthquake.

The earthquake hit just before 6.30am local time, jolting many residents from their sleep.

A powerful aftershock measuring 5.0 hit Zagreb about 30 minutes later as people assessed the damage.

Residents who left their home to view the damage were told to stay at least one metre apart from each other to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The earthquake was also felt in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria.

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