Earthquake hits Indonesia's Java island, 2 deaths reported

A strong earthquake shook Indonesia's most populous island of Java on Friday night, killing two people and severely damaging dozens of homes near the epicentre.

People run out of buildings in panic, traffic jammed in coastal areas

Residents gather outside their apartment blocks in Jakarta early Saturday, after a strong earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. The quake struck shortly before midnight on Dec. 15, the US Geological Survey said. (DESSY SAGITA/AFP/Getty Images)

A strong earthquake shook Indonesia's densely populated Java island on Friday night, killing two people and severely damaging dozens of homes near the epicentre.

The quake struck at 11:47 p.m. local time and was felt across the island, including about 200 km away in the capital Jakarta, where office towers and apartment buildings swayed. Powerful tremors lasted as much as 30 seconds in places.

Panicking people ran out of buildings in many areas and Indonesian television showed heavy traffic on roads as people fled coastal areas.

A 62-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman were killed in building collapses, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

Damage was heaviest in the Tasikmalaya, Pangandaran and Ciamis regions of West Java Province near the epicentre.

More than 40 houses collapsed and about 65 suffered severe damage, said Nugroho.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.5 and was about 91 km deep and located just inland, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It triggered a tsunami warning for parts of Java's coastline that was lifted about two hours later.

Patients are evacuated outside a hospital following an earthquake in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday. (Agus Fitrah/Associated Press)

Several hospitals were damaged by the shaking and patients were removed from the building.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Last December, a 6.5 magnitude quake struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing 104 and injuring more than 1,270 people.

With files from CBC News