Muscat: Residents rushed out on the streets as seismic waves from the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that hit Iran on Tuesday were felt in northern Oman at around 2.55pm.
The tremors sent a wave of panic as people ran on to the streets and phone lines were jammed.
The seismometer at Sultan Qaboos University’s (SQU) Earthquake Monitoring Centre detected the quake across Oman.
“The earthquake of 7.3 magnitude on the Richter scale that hit Iran was also felt in Oman,” Dr Eisa Al Hussain, Director at the Earthquake Monitoring Centre, told Gulf News.
With a barrage of phone calls to the centre, the busy seismologist at the SQU could not talk for long.
“Never in my 37 years in Oman have I experienced something like this,” Pradeep Sheth told Gulf News while talking about the tremors that he felt. “I was taking my afternoon nap when the whole bed started shaking violently,” he said, adding that his first reaction was that someone was banging on his door.
“After I got up I realised that we were hit by an earthquake,” he said.
Dr Kamal Bhatt, a general surgeon at Sur Hospital, told Gulf News over the phone that the Eastern Region city also felt the tremors. “Everything was rattling, making a loud sound,” he said.
Septuagenarian Ajitsinh D. Ramaiya came to Oman in 1954, but this was a first-of-its-kind experience. “This is the first time I felt tremors in Oman in my long, nearly 60-year stay in Oman,” he told Gulf News as he came down four storeys after his building in the Wadi Kabir district was shaken.
Hassan Mohammad Al Abduwani, a resident of Amerat, also felt tremors and the 50-year-old senior official with the Electricity Holding Co (EHC) told Gulf News that in his 50 years he had never felt tremors before in Oman. “I was outside in the compound when my 11-year-old daughter, Zahra, rushed out and told me that she felt tremors,” he said.
It is rare for tremors from earthquake in Iran to be felt in Oman.
He added that his daughter saw frames on the wall shift and cupboards shake. “She was lying down and she felt the shaking so she got up. But then she felt that she was also shaking,” he said.
Saeed Jadad, an Omani blogger from the south of the country, told Gulf News that he didn’t feel any tremors in Salalah. “I haven’t even heard anyone talk about an earthquake in Dhofar region,” he said over the telephone.
Several office and government buildings evacuated after the tremors although most public sector offices had closed for the day by then. “The tremors were felt at the Omantel headquarters and as part of the safety rules the management immediately requested all employees to evacuate the building,” Mohammad Salmi, the company’s corporate communication head, told Gulf News.
He also added that the building hosts the company’s main contact centre. “All customer calls to the call centre were automatically rerouted to Omantel’s regional call centres,” he added.