A powerful earthquake centered near the tourist center of Huatulco, in southern Mexico, appeared to have killed at least one person, shook buildings in Mexico City, and sent thousands of people to flee to the streets. The US Tsunami Warning System USA It issued a tsunami “threat”, but was later lifted. Power was cut in some areas, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.
The governor of the state of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat, told the Televisa network that he had a preliminary report of a person killed and another injured in the collapse of a building in Crucecita, part of Huatulco. He did not provide details. Otherwise, most of the reports were of minor damage, he said.
Seismic alarms sounded mid-morning with enough warning for residents to leave buildings. Helicopters flew over downtown Mexico City and police patrols blew their sirens.
Groups of people were still wandering near streets and sidewalks in some neighborhoods of the capital about an hour after the earthquake. Many were not wearing masks despite previous calls from city officials to do so as a way to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The US Geological Survey. USA He said that the magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred at 10:29 am along the southern Pacific coast of Mexico at a depth of 16 miles. The epicenter was 7 miles south-southwest of Santa María Zapotitlán in the state of Oaxaca.
It was felt in Guatemala and throughout southern and central Mexico.
In Huatulco, a quiet beach destination known for surfing and small sheltered coves, the earthquake knocked goods off the shelves and some rubble from buildings. The video posted on social media showed that patients in Huatulco were evacuated from a hospital.
Mari González, of the Princess Mayev hotel in Huatulco, said staff and guests were able to evacuate the building before the earthquake, but that 45 minutes after the initial earthquake they were still outside while the strong aftershocks continued.
“It was strong, very strong,” he said.
González said there were some broken glass and visible mirrors, but that there was no major damage. The staff was waiting for the aftershocks to dissipate before fully evaluating the property.
Local media reported damage to some buildings in the state capital Oaxaca City. State officials said they were seeking damage.
The USGS estimated that about 2 million people felt strong or moderate tremors and another 49 million felt weak or mild tremors.
Guatemala’s national disaster agency issued a tsunami warning for its southern Pacific coast predicting the arrival of waves up to one meter in height. She advised people to stay away from the sea.