At least 65 people have died after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island, Prime Minister John Key says.
The tremor, which hit at 1251 (2351 GMT on Monday) only 10km (6.2 miles) south-east of the city at a depth of 5km (3.1 miles), caused widespread destruction.
The fire service said numerous people were trapped in buildings, and a state of emergency has been declared.
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake ripped through Christchurch, New Zealand, on Tuesday afternoon, causing multiple fatalities as it toppled buildings onto buses, buckled streets and damaged cathedrals, authorities said.
The quake struck shortly before 1 p.m Tuesday (7 p.m. Monday ET). It was followed by a series of aftershocks including a 5.6-magnitude aftershock about 15 minutes later. The United States Geological Survey recorded a second 5.5-magnitude aftershock shortly before 3 p.m. local time.
The quake toppled the 147-year-old Christchurch Cathedral spire, ripped facades from buildings and sent survivors scrambling to a nearby park to get away from the falling structures and debris. It also forced the closing of the city's airport. ...
Southern New Zealand has been plagued by a series of quakes since September, when the area was shaken by a 7.1-magnitude temblor that New Zealand authorities said was the most damaging quake to hit the region since 1931. The earthquake struck in the predawn hours of September 4. Authorities said the deserted streets at that time likely kept injuries to a minimum.
There were no deaths from that quake. ...
via Deadly quake strikes New Zealand - CNN.com.