Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after Sumatra quake; no deaths reported

There were reports of some deaths initially, but the National Search and Rescue Agency officials later withdrew those comments.

Indonesia's National Disaster Agency has lifted a tsunami warning issued after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra on Wednesday evening.

Australian authorities also called off the tsunami alert two hours after the tremor hit.

"It has been one hour and 45 minutes [after the earthquake] and there will probably be no tsunami," an agency spokesman told Kompas TV, Jakarta Globe reported.

"Local governments of the city of Padang and some other areas in west Sumatra have said there was no tsunami and the warning can now be revoked," spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency told Reuters.

The shallow earthquake struck at 7.49 pm at a depth of 10 kilometers, in the same region devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean quake and tsunami.

The epicenter of the latest 'Pacific Ring of Fire' earthquake was 636 kilometers southwest of West Sumatra's Mentawai Islands.

There were reports of some deaths initially, but the National Search and Rescue Agency officials later withdrew those comments, Reuters reported.

"Up until now, there is no information about deaths," an official said.

The quake spread panic among the residents of Padang, West Sumatra. The tsunami alert caused traffic pile-ups as people fled the coastal areas in their cars and motorbikes, trying to reach higher grounds.

The US Geological Survey originally called it a magnitude 8.2 quake and then lowered it to 7.9, before eventually marking it as a 7.8 tremor.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who was in North Sumatra at the time of the quake, is safe, the government said.

Tremors felt in Singapore

Agence France-Presse reported that tremors from the earthquake were felt in Singapore.

"I could feel my bed moving and I saw the wind chimes swaying even though my windows were shut. I suspected it's tremor from a quake in a neighboring country because this was what happened some years back during the Sumatra earthquake," a resident of Sengkang told the agency.

Parts of Malaysia experience mild tremors an hour after the quake hit Sumatra, the Bernama news agency reported, citing Malaysian meteorological agency.

Indonesia sits on the highly seismically active zone "Pacific Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates on the earth's crust keep colliding.

The plate boundary southwest of Sumatra is part of a long tectonic collision zone that extends over 8,000 km from Papua in the east to the Himalayan front in the west, according to the USGS.