Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after strong quake

Indonesia's geophysics agency lifted a tsunami warning after an earthquake of magnitude 6.9 struck off Indonesia's island of Sumatra on Friday.

Tremors hit near city of Teluk Betung and were felt in capital Jakarta

People stand outside an apartment block in Jakarta after Friday's strong earthquake. (Dessy Sagita/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesia's geophysics agency lifted a tsunami warning on Friday after a strong quake off the islands of Sumatra and Java.

Authorities initially urged coastal-dwellers to head for higher ground on Friday after the quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey initially said had a magnitude of 7 and hit at a depth of 59 kilometres, about 227 kilometres from the city of Teluk Betung.

The magnitude was later lowered to 6.9.

The geophysics agency initially said there was a risk of a tsunami of in southern parts of Pandeglang Regency and Panaitan island in Banten province, and Lampung province in Sumatra. That risk has now been lifted. 

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, but strong tremors were felt in Jakarta, the capital, prompting people to run out of office buildings.

The quake hit 227 kilometres from the city of Teluk Betung off Sumatra island. (CBC News)

The quake could also be felt in other cities such as Yogyakarta on Java island.

"It was so scary," said Gustiani Pratiwi, who was carrying two children near an apartment block in Jakarta when she felt the quake strongly.

TV footage showed passengers at Jakarta's international airport rushing out of a terminal building, but authorities later said the airport was operating normally.

One social media video showed panicked guests dashing out past a hotel swimming pool in Tasikmalya on Java island.

Indonesia is situated on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which is frequently hit by earthquakes and sometimes accompanying tsunamis.

Indonesia's geophysics agency said it would keep monitoring for a potential tsunami until at least 9:35 p.m. local time and warned residents to stay alert.

'We are panicking a lot'

The most devastating in recent Indonesian history was on Dec. 26 in 2004, when a magnitude 9.5 quake triggered a massive tsunami that killed around 226,000 people along the shorelines of the Indian Ocean, including more than 126,000 in Indonesia.

Last year, a tsunami hit the city of Palu in Sulawesi island, killing thousands, while a crater collapse at the Anak Krakatau volcano triggered a tsunami that killed at least 430 people in an area near the latest quake.

At Carita beach in Banten, which was affected by the Anak Krakatau quake, a resident described the alarm in the area.

"We are panicking a lot," Sandi, a resident of Carita beach, told Metro TV by telephone.