Albania earthquake: At least 16 killed and 600 injured after 6.4 magnitude overnight tremors

At least 16 people have been killed and more than 600 injured as a series of devastating earthquakes struck Albania overnight.

Rescue crews used excavators to search for survivors trapped in toppled apartment buildings near the capital Tirana on Tuesday as thousands of emergency services set to work across the country.

Other Balkan nations reportedly felt the tremors as the initial 6.4 magnitude quake hit early on Tuesday and was followed by multiple aftershocks.

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The quake collapsed at least three apartment buildings while people slept, and rescue crews were working to free people believed to be trapped.

Devastation: Emergency workers look for survivors trough the rubble of a building in the coastal city of Durres, west of capital Tirana following the earthquake (GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images)
Devastation: Emergency workers look for survivors trough the rubble of a building in the coastal city of Durres, west of capital Tirana following the earthquake (GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP via Getty Images)
Rescuers searching the rubble of a damaged building. (Reuters)
Rescuers searching the rubble of a damaged building. (Reuters)

There was no indication as to how many people might still be buried in the rubble.

In nearby Bosnia, another tremor with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 struck south-east of the capital and rattled Sarajevo.

There were no immediate reports of casualties and only minor damage in that earthquake. Greece and Kosovo promised to help with rescuers in Albania.

“It is a dramatic moment where we should preserve calm, stay alongside each other to cope with this shock,” Prime Minister Edi Rama said, thanking countries that offered support.

The location of the earthquake in Albania
The location of the earthquake in Albania
In this aerial view taken from a video by AFPTV, emergency workers clear debris at a damaged building in Thumane, 34 kilometres (about 20 miles) northwest of capital Tirana (ELIS KRUJA/AFP via Getty Images)
In this aerial view taken from a video by AFPTV, emergency workers clear debris at a damaged building in Thumane, 34 kilometres (about 20 miles) northwest of capital Tirana (ELIS KRUJA/AFP via Getty Images)

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Mr Rama said neighbouring countries, the European Union and the US had offered to send assistance.

Mr Rama said he had spoken to his Italian, Greek and Turkish counterparts and with the EU and US embassies in Tirana.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.4 quake, which struck just before 4am local time, had an epicentre 19 miles north-west of the capital, Tirana, at a depth of 12 miles.

Scores of aftershocks included three with preliminary magnitudes of between 5.1 and 5.4.

The 6.4 magnitude overnight quakes reduces dozens of buildings to rubble. (ELIS KRUJA/AFP via Getty Images)
The 6.4 magnitude overnight quakes reduces dozens of buildings to rubble. (ELIS KRUJA/AFP via Getty Images)
Emergency workers clear debris at a damaged building in the town of Thumane. (Getty)
Emergency workers clear debris at a damaged building in the town of Thumane. (Getty)

Local television stations showed footage of a young boy being pulled from a collapsed building after an excavator moved a broken slab of concrete and local men pulled mangled reinforcement bars out of the way.

Neighbouring Kosovo was sending an emergency crew, while Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ordered a fire department rescue unit specialising in disaster response to travel to Albania, Greek authorities said.

The Turkish ambassador also said his country was sending a team of rescuers and medics.

The Defence Ministry said seven bodies were pulled from rubble in the coastal city of Durres, 20 miles west of the capital Tirana and five people were found dead in a collapsed apartment building in the northern town of Thumane.

One person died after jumping from his home to escape in Kurbin, 30 miles north of the capital, while another person was killed on a road that collapsed in the northern town of Lezha.

The Health Ministry reported about 600 people had been injured, with some in serious condition.

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