Mexico quake matches force of 1932 temblor, 15 people killed
MEXICO CITY (AP) — One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to strike Mexico has hit off its southern coast, killing at least 15 people, toppling houses and businesses and sending panicked people into the streets more than 650 miles away.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake hit off Chiapas state near the Guatemalan border with a magnitude as 8.1 – slightly stronger than the magnitude 8 quake of 1985 quake that killed thousands and devastated large parts of Mexico City.
National civil defense chief Luis Felipe Puente told the Televisa network that at least 15 people had died, 10 of them in Oaxaca, also close to the epicenter.
Hundreds of buildings collapsed or were damage, power was cut at least briefly to more than 1.8 million people and authorities closed schools Friday in at least 11 states to check them for safety.
"The house moved like chewing gum and the light and internet went out momentarily," said Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near the Chiapas state city of San Cristobal de las Casas.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded at least 20 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater within about five hours after the main shake, and the president warned that a major aftershock as large as magnitude 7.2 could occur.