Tremors shake Sabah east coast

The Star, 20 Jan 2015

KOTA KINABALU: A moderate 5.5-magnitude earthquake in the Sulu Sea rattled residents off their beds at 1.19am Tuesday.

Coastal villagers in Semporna, Kunak and Tawau came out of their houses after tremors lasting about a minute shook their stilt homes following the earthquake at the depth of 10kms in the Sulu Sea in Philippines was about 148km northeast of Semporna.

No tsunami threat was reported.

There were no reports of any damage to buildings and injuries, according to firemen and police the three districts who were immediately mobilised to monitor the situation.

“My house was shaking and I rushed out with the family. Many others had done the same and we realised that it was just a tremor,’’ said a Semporna resident Azdil Morad, 42, in a telephone interview.

Azdil, whose wooden house is on stilts along the coast, said that the tremor lasted about 90 seconds but it was enough to wake him from his deep sleep.

“I thought some one was pulling my bed, only after I woke up did I realise that it was a tremor,’’ said a Tawau resident who wanted to be identified as Chai.

Chai, who said they have felt similar tremors past, said that it lasted about a minute and there were no other aftershocks felt.

“It was a little scary when it lasted,’’ she added.

Some resorts workers on islands off Semporna in the east coast also felt the tremors but many others slept through the tremors.

“We are all shaken but not stirred,’’ said a divemaster Stan Yee.

Another staff at Mabul island Yong Foong Mah said that all was well, adding that “Turtles and fishes are still swimming under the (stilt) resorts,’’ he said.