At least 32 people died after an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Mexico on Thursday night, Reuters reported. The epicentre was around 120 km southwest of Pijijiapan town at a depth of 35 km. “It was a major earthquake in scale and magnitude, the strongest in the past 100 years,” said President Enrique Pena Nieto.
A spokesman for emergency services said at least seven people were killed after buildings collapsed in the state of Chiapas. In Tabasco state, two children died. At least 23 people were killed in the state of Oaxaca, 17 of them in the town of Juchitan, Alejandro Murat, the state governor said.
Mexican authorities had issued a tsunami warning for a huge stretch of the coastline starting in central Mexico, all the way to Ecuador. However, the warning was lifted later, reported AFP.
The United States Geological Survey’s Pacific Tsunami Center had said the earthquake may trigger widespread tsunamis. Initial waves between 0.3 to 0.7 metres (one to 2.2 feet) have been reported at Mexico’s Salina Cruz, Puerto Madero and Huatulco cities. The tsunami warning had been issued for Mexico, EL Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.
The tremors from the quake were felt as far as 1,000 km away from the epicentre, in Mexico City, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center. The USGS said an aftershock of magnitude of 5.7, whose epicentre was around 80 km northwest of the first earthquake, hit 12 minutes later, USGS said.