Magnitude-8.1 Hits Off Mexico’s Southern Coast
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.1 struck off the southern coast of Mexico early Friday prompting potential tsunami threats along the entire southern coast of Central America.
The quake struck about 70 miles off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala at 12:49 a.m. ET. The U.S. Geological Survey initially estimated the magnitude at 8.0 before revising it to 8.1 The Mexican Seismological Agency rated it at magnitude 8.4.
Five aftershocks measuring magnitude 4.9 to 5.7 were recorded in the hour after the quake, the USGS said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that a 2.3-foot tsunami wave was recorded off the Mexican coast and that waves up to 10 feet were possible.
Smaller waves up to 3 feet were possible until about 3:45 a.m. ET along with the borders of nearly all Central American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
Unbelievable! Moment Earthquake hits Mexico #Tsunami
"The house moved like chewing gum and the light, and internet went out momentarily," Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, a poor, largely indigenous state popular with tourists, told The Associated Press.
Patients, doctors and medical workers at a hospital in Mexico City, Mexico, comfort each other as they stand outside after an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 struck southern Mexico late Thursday.
Power Line Explosions, Shakes Streetlights, Statues
Those in the capital city — located more than 650 miles from the quake's epicenter — fled into the streets when the tremor occurred. Witnesses said buildings there threatened to topple, swaying back and forth, despite the city’s distance from the event.
Velasco told the television station Televisa several homes and shopping centers collapsed in San Cristobal, according to International Business Times.
"There are hospitals that have lost energy," he said. "Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected."
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that he was in contact with the country's center for disaster prevention.
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