Undersea earthquake strikes off coast of Indonesia

A powerful undersea earthquake rocked a large swath of western Indonesia on Wednesday, the Hong Kong Observatory said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The tremor was centered off the island of Sumatra, 420 kilometers (260 miles) south-southeast of Banda Aceh, the observatory said. It struck just after 0130 am local time (1830 GMT Tuesday).

Residents of Sinabang on Simeuleu island, close to the epicenter, said the quake woke some people in the town, but that it felt no stronger than any of the scores that rock the region almost daily.

"These kind of events are very usual for us," said Suwardi, a nurse at the town's hospital. "There was no panic." Suwardi gave a single name.

A 9.1-magnitude earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, off the coast of Sumatra triggered a massive tsunami that killed more than 131,000 people in nearby Aceh province and 100,000 others in countries around Asia, reports the AP.

I.L.