A powerful earthquake jolted the western Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing a 12-year-old boy and sending people streaming from their houses and hotels in panic.

Hundreds of patients from at least one hospital had to be evacuated, some in wheelchairs or with infusion drips still attached to their arms.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.6-magnitude quake was centred 60 miles (100 kilometres) southwest of the city of Medan at a depth of 62 miles (110 kilometres).

It hit at around 1 a.m. Tuesday local time, rattling people from their sleep in towns and villages across the island’s northern tip.

Maura Sakti, a mayor in the town of Subulussalam, told the local station TVOne a 12-year-old boy had been killed.

He had no other details about injuries or damage.

Residents in Singkil, an area closer to the quake’s epicenter, said some electricity poles fell down, crashing into houses and causing blackouts.

“My wife was screaming, my children crying,” said Burhan Mardiansyah, 37. “We saw our walls start to crack and everything inside the house was falling.”

“Thank God we’re all safe.”

Indonesia straddles a series of fault lines that make the vast island nation prone to volcanic and seismic activity.

A giant quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, half of them in Indonesia’s westernmost province of Aceh.

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