2 quakes in Spain kill 10, injure dozens

MADRID (AP) — Two earthquakes struck southeast Spain in quick succession Wednesday, killing at least 10 people, injuring dozens and causing major damage to buildings, officials said. It was the highest quake-related death toll in Spain in more than 50 years.

The epicenter of the quakes — with magnitudes of 4.4 and 5.2 — was close to the town of Lorca, and the second came about two hours after the first, an official with the Murcia regional government said on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

Dozens of injured people were being treated at the scene and a field hospital was set up in the town of about 85,000 people, officials said. About 270 patients at a hospital in Lorca were being evacuated by ambulance as a precaution after the building sustained minor damage, the Murcia regional government said.

The Spanish prime minister’s office put the death toll at 10 and the Murcia administration said the deaths included a minor and occurred with the second, stronger quake.

Large chunks of stone and brick fell from the facade of a church in Lorca as a reporter for Spanish state TV was broadcasting live from the scene. A large church bell was also among the rubble, which missed striking the reporter.

Spanish TV showed images of cars that were partially crushed by falling rubble, and large cracks in buildings. Nervous groups of residents gathered in open public places, talking about what happened and calling relatives and friends on their cell phones. An elderly woman appeared to be in shock and was seated in a chair as people tried to calm her.

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