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Panic as magnitude-5 earthquake rattles southern Italy

Mario Tosti / AFP - Getty Images

People who had been evacuated from a hospital wait in a rescue center in Mormanno, southern Italy, after an earthquake early on Friday.

ROME -- A hospital was evacuated after a magnitude-5 earthquake struck southern Italy early on Friday, authorities said.

The quake hit at 1:05 a.m. local time (7:05 p.m. ET Thursday) about 3.9 miles underground, north of Cosenza in the Pollino mountains area on the border of the southern regions of Calabria and Basilicata, according to data from the Italian Geophysics Institute (INGV).

At least 14 other tremors followed the initial earthquake, according to INGV's website.

Italian media reported that an elderly man who lived near the tremor's epicenter had died of a heart attack.

An Italian police official told Reuters a hospital in the small town of Mormanno had been evacuated as a precautionary measure because some cracks were found in its structure.

No injuries were reported, the official said.

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Italian news agencies reported scenes of panic in the hospital and said many inhabitants of Mormanno and surrounding towns had come out in the streets.

Police and firefighters were surveying the area for further damage, officials said.

NBC News' Claudio Lavanga and Reuters contributed to this report.

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