Earthquake Hits Off Mexico

Updated Friday 8 September 2017 9:21
Earthquake Hits Off Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck off the Pacific Coast of Mexico late Thursday, shaking buildings as far away as Mexico City and sending worried residents fleeing into the streets. At least five deaths were reported in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 8.1, according to the United States Geological Survey, and struck about 60 miles southwest of Pijijiapan, off the coast of Chiapas State, near the border with Guatemala.

The quake was felt in the capital, Mexico City, more than 450 miles from the epicenter.

Mexico City’s earthquake alarm sounded, sending people running into the streets, many of them in nightclothes, looking up nervously at shaking trees and swaying power lines.

Zhaira Franco, 35, who works for Facebook in social programming, said she heard an alarm 30 seconds before the earthquake hit her building in Mexico City. The building shook so much that it hit the adjacent building, she said.

The quake also rocked the city’s landmark Angel of Independence monument.

A glass door shattered at Mexico City’s main airport, and there were reports of tumbling walls. Helicopters circled over the city to assess damage, but there were no immediate reports of casualties in the city. A hotel in the Pacific state of Oaxaca was evacuated. The ceiling of a shopping mall in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas State, collapsed, littering the floor with debris.

Five aftershocks with a preliminary magnitude 4.9 or stronger hit in the hour following the initial quake, the United States Geological Survey said. A tsunami with the largest wave measuring less than four feet was recorded on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, the Pacific Tsunami Warnng Center said.

Rudy Gomez, 28, who lives in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City, talked to his family in Chiapas by phone after the quake.

“After the earthquake, there were three more,” he said of the aftershocks in Chiapas.

“They are just waiting to see if there is another one to come, but right now they are O.K.,” he added.

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