Magnitude 5 earthquake hits southern Italy, hospital evacuated

ROME Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:20pm EDT

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ROME (Reuters) - A magnitude 5 earthquake struck north of Cosenza in southern Italy early on Friday, and police said a hospital had been evacuated after cracks were found in its structure, but there were no reports of injuries.

The quake hit at 1:05 a.m. (7.05 p.m. EDT on Thursday) about 6.3 km (3.9 miles) underground, north of Cosenza in the Pollino mountains area on the border of the southern regions of Calabria and Basilicata, according to data from the Italian Geophysics Institute (INGV). It said on its website that at least 14 other tremors followed the initial earthquake.

An Italian police official told Reuters a hospital in the small town of Mormanno had been evacuated as a precautionary measure because some cracks were found in its structure.

No injuries were reported, the official said.

Italian news agencies reported scenes of panic in the hospital and said many inhabitants of Mormanno and surrounding towns had come out in the streets.

Police and fire fighters are surveying the area for further damage, officials said.

(This version of the story corrects the local time in paragraph two.)

(Reporting By Catherine Hornby; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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