PHUKET: Tremors from a distant earthquake caused anxiety in tall buildings in Patong and triggered a stampede to evacuate the Phuket Vocational College at Saphan Hin, Phuket Town, today. The six buildings at the college shook for almost a minute, with students running downstairs to gather outside. One student, Kittipong Jarusatorn, said later, “Someone shouted, ‘Get out of the building, it’s shaking.’ I was on the fourth floor. Many people ran down from the fifth and sixth floors.” Assistant Professor Orachorn Kaewtatip, Deputy Director at the college, was downstairs at the time and noticed her table shaking. She said that students were frightened because they had never experienced an earthquake before. There were no reports of damage and students returned to classes after about 15 minutes. Tawatchai Tantamnu, Director of the Western South Coast Meteorological Center, said, “Many people in tall buildings in Patong called us to ask about this.” He said the earthquake had a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale at its epicentre off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, hundreds of kilometers from Phuket. It began at 9:55 am and tremors reached Phuket seven minutes later. The Meteorological Center was unable to give the strength of the quake on the island.
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