Strong Indonesia Quake Forces Evacuations
By MICHAEL CASEY
Associated Press Writer
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) -- A major earthquake struck off the west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island late Monday, and officials issued a tsunami warning for as far away as Sri Lanka. Residents of Banda Aceh fled their homes in panic.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor, described by one of the agency's geologists as an aftershock of the devastating Dec. 26 quake, measured a magnitude of 8.2.
In Banda Aceh, the Sumatran city that was hit hardest by December's tsunami, the quake cut electricity and thousands poured into the streets, most getting into vehicles to flee low-lying areas.
Tsunami warnings were issued in Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka. Authorities said it could take several hours whether the quake had generated a devastating tsunami.
The quake lasted for about two minutes - far longer than most of the daily aftershocks that have rocked Aceh since Dec. 26.