At least 15 dead as magnitude-8.1 earthquake rocks Mexico
iStock/Thinkstock(MEXICO CITY) — At least 15 people were killed as a magnitude-8.1 earthquake rocked Mexico late Thursday night, leveling buildings in southern Mexico; triggering tsunami warnings in several countries; and causing people to flee into the street, buildings to sway and lights to go out in Mexico City, some 650 miles from the quake’s epicenter.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who said the quake was 8.2 in magnitude, called it the strongest the country has seen in a century. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measured it at 8.1 magnitude.
The powerful quake occurred some 50 miles southwest of Pijijiapan, Mexico, off the coast of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, at 11:49 p.m. local time (12:49 a.m. ET), according to the USGS. The depth of the earthquake was 43 miles.
National civil defense Chief Luis Felipe Puente told the Televisa network that at least 15 people had died, according to official reports.
Two children were reported dead in Tabasco, the state just north of Chiapas.
Nieto said 1 million customers were without power in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but 200,000 remained without power early Friday.
Emergency responders searched for survivors amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Juchitán in Oaxaca.
The Mexico City fire department told ABC News early Friday that there were no casualties locally.
Mexico’s Pacific coastal areas — as well as the coastlines of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica — experienced some tsunami waves, with some over 3 feet off the coast of Salina Cruz.
“Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the National Weather Service Tsunami Warning Center said in an alert. “Tsunami waves reaching more than 3 meters above the tide level are possible along some coasts of Mexico.”
Pena Nieto tweeted that the country’s National Security Committee had been activated.
A number of aftershocks were also being reported in the original area off the southern coast. They ranged in magnitude from 3.7 to 5.7, and Nieto said the country had experienced 62 total aftershocks in the four hours following the initial earthquake.
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