Earthquake tremors felt in Penang

The residents of Permai Ria apartments in Tanjung Bungah, Penang had to run for their safety upon feeling the earthquake tremor around 4pm today.

The tremor that was felt in Penang was inflicted by the 8.7 magnitude on the Richter scale earthquake recorded off the west coast of Aceh, which triggered a tsunami alert for surrounding areas including Penang.

According to one of the residents, she was watching television when she felt the tremor, which lasted close to 10 minutes and made her panic. She had run out of the apartment for her safety.

Almost when the panicked resident was settling down, another tremor was felt around 6.47pm. The residents had to escape through the stairwell and gather in apartment lawn.

The earthquake triggered a tsunami alert in Penang and people were cordoned of from them beach area.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had earlier estimated that tsunami waves would arrive in Georgetown, Penang and Port Dickson at 1311 GMT and 1743GMT (9.11pm tonight and 1.43am tomorrow local time).

However, this warning was later lifted by the centre, which stated that the tsunami threat had diminished in most areas.

The US Geological Survey reported that the quake was centred 33km beneath the ocean floor, around 495km from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.

Previously, the 2004 tsunami killed about 230,000 people in 13 Indian Ocean countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.