27 Jul 2009

Hotel worker says Vanuatu quake sent people fleeing

7:13 pm on 27 July 2009

A strong 6.2 earthquake has struck in Vanuatu, shaking buildings and scaring tourists but causing no significant damage.

The United States Geological Survey says the undersea quake hit 29 kilometres west of the capital Port Vila at a depth of 51kilometres.

The Operations Manager at the Melanesian Port Vila hotel, Joe Betsesai was tending to the garden at the time of the quake.

He says it felt like a big roaring truck was approaching his direction.

"I didn't know it was an earthquake until I started to feel the roaring coming closer and closer and I felt the earth shaking under my feet. And as I Iooked around, all the things around me were moving so I realised that it was an earthquake. As I looked back to the hotel, everyone was running off the buildings, running to the outside from the middle floor, the ground floor, even the top floor."

Joe Betsesai says although he panicked at the time, nobody was injured and the hotel has not suffered any noticeable damage.