Madeira earthquake: Tourists run for cover as 5.3 magnitude tremor rocks island

The holiday island of Madeira has been rocked by an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale.

Tourists staying on the island have told of their terror after the sudden quake shook hotels and bars

The National Geographic Institute says the quake happened around 27 miles from the Deserta Grande Island just before 9pm tonight. The tremor occurred in the sea at a depth of just over three miles.

No damage has yet been reported but residents and tourists are said to have taken to the streets and have voiced their fears on the social network and geographic sites.

"It lasted for about a minute," one couple from Blackpool told "We were on the 3rd floor of the Pestana Casino Gardens. We knew what it was, having been in the Christchurch Feb 2011, which was much worse. There were NO aftershocks, NO pre shocks, only a single rumble. Then it was gone. "

A report from holidaymakers 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 obvious damage. Quite a frightening experience,"another couple reported.

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

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The Deserta Grande Island is 14 miles of southeast of Madeira Island, off the western coast of North Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.

The shakes were reportedly also felt in the Canary Islands.

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Madeira Weekly reports that buildings, outhouses, cars and the ground shook from the shock.

Bystanders say that buildings rocked, the air roared around them, cars shook and the ground "heaved beneath their feet."

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