Tourists run for cover as powerful 5.2 tremor rocks tourist hotspot in Madeira

British tourists have been caught up in a powerful earthquake which struck the island of Madeira this evening.

The magnitude 5.3 tremor shook the popular holiday spot just before 9pm.

It struck 42 kilometres from the Deserta Grande Island, according to the National Geographic Institute.

A couple from Blackpool have spoken of how they felt the tremor, which happened at a depth of 5 kilometres, from their third floor hotel room.

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"It lasted for about a minute," they told earthquakes.com .

"We were on the 3rd floor of the Pestana Casino Gardens. We knew what it was, having been in Christchurch Feb 2011, which was much worse.

"There were no aftershocks, no pre-shocks, only a single rumble. Then it was gone."

Another holidaymaker in Funchal said: "On holiday in hotel. Very very scary. Thought the building was going to collapse."

Others reported "very strong shaking" with ornaments falling on the floor, walls and lights shaking and shaking floors in restaurants.

"No damage whole house moved with side to side shaking," said another.

The shakes were also reportedly felt in the Canary Islands.

The Deserta Grande Island is 14 miles southeast of Madeira Island, part of an archipelago of four islands off the northwest coast of Africa.

It is home to just under 270,000 people and is visited by a million tourists each year.

No injuries have been reported and no infrastructure of housing was damaged, according to the national civil protection authority.

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