A powerful earthquake struck near the Pacific resort town of Acapulco Tuesday night, killing at least one person and causing buildings to totter and sway in Mexico City hundreds of miles away.
The United States Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7 and its epicenter was 17 kilometers (about 10 miles) northeast of Acapulco.
Guerrero state governor Héctor Astudillo told Milenio Television on Tuesday night that a person had died when a pole fell in the town of Coyuca de Benítez, near Acapulco.
“We heard loud noises from the building, noise from the windows, things fell into the house, the power went out,” said Sergio Flores, an Acapulco resident contacted by phone. “We heard water dripping, the water came out of the pool and people were heard screaming, very nervous people.”
Flores said the only thing he could do when he started shaking was hug his wife. He saw people leaving hotels around the bay and some running into parking lots to remove their cars, fearing a collapse.
“We were all concerned about some change in the sea, but so far the authorities have not said anything about a tsunami warning,” he said.
Astudillo said that the tsunami warning center had not registered variations in sea level. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center later said the threat of possible waves had passed.
The mayor of Acapulco, Adela Román, said in a statement to the television newscast Milenio that “so far there is no really serious situation” and there are no reports of victims.
“There are nervous breakdowns; people are concerned that there have been aftershocks, “she said, adding that there are” a lot of gas leaks in many places, “as well as some landslides and fallen walls.
Before the first death was reported, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said through Twitter that the authorities of the four states that felt the earthquake the most told him that there were no victims or serious damage beyond some collapsed walls and the fall of rocks.
“Fortunately there is no serious damage,” he said.
Mexico’s National Civil Defense said it was conducting reviews in 10 states, but had received no reports of casualties or serious damage.
In Mexico City, more than 320 kilometers (almost 200 miles) away, the ground shook for nearly a minute in some parts of the capital, but the earthquake was less evident elsewhere. Some people evacuated their buildings briefly, but most quickly returned inside on a rainy night.
“I was at home with my mom and my dogs and the seismic alert started to sound,” said Claudia Guarneros, makeup artist. “My mother was in another room and I started calling her. The house started to move and in the last part of the earthquake the power went out and we couldn’t see anything, we only saw some things fall ”.
Mexico City authorities said there were no initial reports of significant damage in the city, although power was cut in some neighborhoods. Some broken windows in a downtown building littered the sidewalk with glass.
Arturo Hernández was outside the relatively new apartment building he moved into just three years ago. Next to it was a taller building abandoned since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake of September 19, 2017, in the neighboring state of Puebla, which caused significant damage in the capital.
Hernández heard the seismic alarm and got out before the ground began to shake. The abandoned building next to his continued to crack and groan for three minutes after the shaking stopped, he said. When asked if he had cared about the damaged building next door, he said, “Always, always.”
Tuesday’s earthquake occurred four years after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake that struck the coast of southern Mexico’s Chiapas state, largely destroying the city of Juchitán in neighboring Oaxaca state and killing dozens.