Magnitude 7.1 quake strikes off Solomon Islands as aftershocks hamper relief after tsunami

An earthquake with a preliminary 7.1 magnitude struck off the Solomon Islands Friday as aftershocks continue to rattle the region after Wednesday's 8.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

The continued jolts are preventing relief workers from reaching villages where at least nine people were killed.

The nation's prime minister was on a plane to Santa Cruz Island in the eastern Solomons today to assess the damage when a strong aftershock hit. The plane returned to the capital.

An official with the relief agency World Vision says the plane made a second attempt to reach the island later today without the prime minister, but with shelter kits, water carriers, medical supplies and medical staff. It landed safely.

Officials say a 6.6-magnitude aftershock damaged roads on the island's main town of Lata, preventing aid workers from reaching people on the coast.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.