Panic as deadly tremor hits China quake zone

/ Source: The Associated Press

A powerful earthquake hit China on Tuesday in the same region where almost 70,000 people were killed in May, and on a day the Olympic torch relay passed through. The quake killed one person and injured 23 others, local media reported.

Panicked residents fled into the streets from swaying buildings, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, when the shock measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at magnitude 6.0 struck shortly before 6 p.m. local time.

The quake rattled Qingchuan county in southwest Sichuan, and also jolted buildings in neighboring Shaanxi province's Hanzhong and Xi'an cities and the sprawling municipality of Chongqing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The casualties were reported in Yaodu, a township in Qingchuan, Xinhua said.

The temblor was the latest of scores of aftershocks from the 7.9 quake that struck Sichuan on May 12, killing almost 70,000 people and leaving 5 million homeless.

The U.S. seismic service said the epicenter of Tuesday's quake was 30 miles northwest of Guangyuan town at a depth of 6 miles.

The earthquake occurred a few hours after the Olympic torch relay was held in the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu, its last stop before the flame officially opens the Beijing Games on Friday. There were no reports of the quake being felt in Chengdu.

On Friday, an aftershock with the same magnitude as Tuesday's hit Pingwu and Beichuan in Sichuan, injuring 231 people.