Strong quake hits north of Andaman islands

Reuters (Link) - Sanjib Kumar Roy (March 30, 2010)

A strong 6.4 magnitude quake struck on Tuesday north of the Andaman Islands, an area devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake, earlier put at 6.9 magnitude, struck 135 miles (215 km) north of Port Blair, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake was 28.2 miles deep. There was no danger of a destructive tsunami, it said.

The earthquake triggered a panic among residents of several northern islands of the Andaman chain, and sent them running out of their homes.

�We were inside our house when this earthquake struck, and we all ran out of our house out of panic,� said Srinivasan, a businessman on one of the islands.

Indian officials also said there was no threat to the Indian coast.

A mild tremor was felt in Orissa. A witness in the state capital Bhubaneswar said people felt their beds rattling and those living in high-rise buildings left their homes as a precaution.