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BELGRADE--A major earthquake in southern Yugoslavia and Albania killed at least 235 people early yesterday, the official Belgrade Radio reported.
The report said 200 were known dead in Yugoslavia and quoted the Albanian News Agency's account, which reported 35 persons killed and 50 injured in Albania, a southern neighbor.
As rescue operations began, officials said they expected to find more dead buried underneath the rubble of collapsed buildings.
The earthquake, centered in the Adriatic Sea near the Yugoslavian coastal resort of Dubrovnik, destroyed hotels, hospitals, factories, and homes along the coast, Belgrade Radio said.
Highways rimming the coast, medieval citadels in old settlements and modern hotels broken up by the initial 50-second tremor slid into the sea after a series of violent aftershocks, local officials reported.
Residents panicked as the tremors continued until late afternoon, and they fled into open fields and olive groves to spend the night.
The earthquake hit the relatively sparsely populated province of Montenegro.
President Josip Broz Tito, who was staying near the coastal town of Herceg-Novi when the earthquake hit, visited the stricken area. "It was lucky it was not a working day," the 86-year-old president said. He called in his aides to assess the damage and begin organizing rescue operations.
Rumblings from the earthquake shook buildings as far away as Naples, Italy, and Salonika, Greece.
Tremors were reported in West Germany, Hungary and Austria. Residents of Rome felt tremors strong enough to set their chandeliers swinging.
Vladimir Ribaric, chief of the geophysical observatory in Ljubljana, said the earthquake registered 7.2 on the Richter scale, 1.2 points higher than Yugoslavia's worst recorded tremor.
The earthquake began at 7:20 a.m. local time.
Vojislav Savic, a passenger in a bus near Petrovac, said his view of the earthquake was "horrible.
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