Ankara(Turkey): An earthquake of 5.9 magnitude hit western Turkey partly damaging some buildings and one mosque in western Turkey and killing at least three people and injuring nearly 100 people, authorities said on Friday. It was centered in the town of Simav, the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory said.

The quake that struck at 11:15 pm on Thursday, sent terrified residents running from their homes before midnight. The quake was followed by about 50 aftershocks, the strongest with a preliminary magnitude of 4.6 that shook Kutahya, said Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli Observatory.

Two people, including one who jumped out of a window in panic, were left dead in Simav,  Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu told reporters.

An elderly woman died of a heart attack in another town, Inegol, authorities said.

Eroglu said 79 people, including some who suffered injuries after jumping from balconies and windows and those who suffered from heart attacks or panic-related shock, were taken to hospitals in Simav.

Fifteen others were treated at hospitals in the neighbouring province of Usak, said Seracettin Com, a senior health official.

Authorities evacuated the state hospital in Simav and transferred the injured to other hospitals in the region, the governor's office said.

Bilgin Turkmentepe, a member of the search and rescue group Akut, said some elderly people did not notice the cracks at one mosque at dawn and only left morning prayers after
their warnings.

Many residents spent the rest of the night in their cars or in the streets as authorities cautioned them against re-entering their homes.

The Red Crescent set up soup kitchens and dispatched tents to the area, said Tekin Kucukali, head of the organisation told a TV channel.

Murat Nurlu, head of the emergency earthquake centre at the prime minister's office, said a team has been dispatched to a silver mine in Kutahya where an alleged leak from a cyanide pool was reported several days before the quake hit the area.

He warned of more aftershocks in the coming days.

(Agencies)