(CNN) — Croatia has been hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The tremor caused major damage to the town of Petrinja, and left at least one person dead, according to authorities.
The quake hit the Balkan country at 12:20 p.m. local time (6:20 a.m. ET) and its epicenter was located 44 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of the capital Zagreb, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). The government-owned Croatian News Agency HINA earlier reported that the quake had a magnitude of 6.3.
The EMSC said it was the largest earthquake to hit Croatia so far this year, adding it could “generate significant damage at close epicentral distances.”
Darinko Dumbović, the mayor of Petrinja, requested emergency aid.
Dumbović was holding a press conference before the quake hit. In footage of the event, a rumbling sound can be heard as the earthquake begins, followed by muddled shrieks from the attendees. The camera then appears to fall to the ground.
Photographs from Petrinja showed a collapsed roof of a building and a car crushed by falling debris.
“My city has been completely destroyed,” Dumbović told CNN’s Croatian affiliate N1, in an emotional plea for support. “We have a dead child. I can’t describe it.”
“We need firefighters, we don’t know what lies below the surface. A roof fell on a car, we need help,” he added.
In an earlier interview with N1, Dumbović described scenes of “panic” in the aftermath of the tremor. “There’s panic, people are searching for their loved ones,” he said.
“We are pulling people out of cars, we don’t know if people have died or have been injured. I heard a kindergarten has collapsed but luckily there weren’t any children there, while in another one the children were able to escape,” the mayor added.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the military would be deployed to support emergency services in the area, while HINA reported that personnel were already on the ground in Petrinja, helping residents and clearing debris.
“This is a tragedy but everyone is here and we will provide all possible help,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.
Reuters reported that the quake could be felt as far away as Zagreb. Photographs from the capital showed broken roof tiles, bricks and other debris.
The Arena sports hall in Zagreb, which was turned into an emergency care centre for coronavirus patients, will also begin to take in coronavirus patients from the county of Sisak-Moslavina, which was affected the earthquake, HINA reported.