At least 5 dead as magnitude-8.1 earthquake rocks southern Mexico

Posted on: September 8th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(MEXICO CITY) — At least five people were killed as a magnitude-8.1 earthquake rocked southern Mexico late Thursday night, causing people to flee into the street, buildings to sway, and lights to go out in Mexico City.

The powerful quake occurred 59.7 miles southwest of Pijijiapan, Mexico, off the coast of Chiapas at 11:49 p.m. local time (12:49 a.m. ET), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The depth of the earthquake was 22 miles, the USGS said.

The governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco, told local media at least three people had been killed in San Cristobal de las Casas, a city in the region.

Two children were reported dead by The Associated Press in Tabasco, the state just north of Chiapas. Tabasco Gov. Arturo Nunez told The Associated Press one child died when a wall collapsed on them, while a baby died when electricity went out at a hospital where the infant was on a ventilator.

Authorities in Oaxaca, west of the state of Chiapas, were seen assessing damage to the area early Friday, including to a hotel.

Se trabaja en hotel de Matías Romero que sufrió daños por sismo #Oaxaca @alejandromurat

— ProtecciónCivilOax (@CEPCO_GobOax) September 8, 2017

RT Hotel Anel de Matías Romero se colapsó, hay personas atrapadas.

— OAXACA IN (@oaxacain) September 8, 2017

The Mexico City fire department told ABC News that there were no casualties.

UPDATE: #earthquake mag now 8.2, >3 m #tsunami waves possible for Mexico, < 1 m waves elsewhere. #PTWC

— NWS PTWC (@NWS_PTWC) September 8, 2017

Mexico’s Pacific coastal areas — as well as the coastlines of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica — are now on alert for tsunami waves.

“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.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted that the country’s National Security Committee had been activated.

Se encuentran activos los protocolos de Protección Civil, incluyendo el Comité Nacional de Emergencias, ante sismo de 8.0 de intensidad.

— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) September 8, 2017

A number of aftershocks were also being reported in the original area. They ranged in magnitude from 3.7 to 5.7.

ABC News’ Jose Cohen, Rachel Katz and Will Gretzky contributed to this report.

The story is breaking. Please check back for updates.

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