- Updated: March 21 at 6:30 a.m. Eastern
At 12:02 p.m. local time (2:02 p.m. Eastern), a long, strong earthquake struck the state of Guerrero, Mexico, approximately 120 miles east of Acapulco.
The USGS estimated the tremor at magnitude-7.4, striking around 11 miles below the surface. It sent people in Mexico City into the streets, frightened as the buildings began swaying.
A pedestrian bridge (below) collapsed and crushed a microbus in Mexico City, but there were still no reports of deaths. A building in the neighborhood of Condesa appeared to be on the verge of collapsing. U.S. President Barack Obama's oldest daughter, Malia, was on vacation with a school group in Oaxaca, Mexico, and reported safe by the White House.
More than 800 homes have been damaged, with another 60 having collapsed near the epicenter in Ometepec in southern Guerrero state, though there were no reports of death or serious injury.
- (Below is from the Discovery Center of Idaho)
- Below: Debris is seen inside a home after a wall collapsed. AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills
On Twitter, Mexican President Felipe Calderon communicated that no major damage has been reported, and no injuries have been reported either. Also via Twitter, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said there were no issues to the water system and other "strategic services." Mexico City Airport was closed briefly, but flights are now resuming.
- "It was very strong, but we didn't see anything fall," said Irma Ortiz, who runs a guesthouse in Oaxaca. She said their telephones are down, and that the quake shook them side-to-side.
- Hours after the shaking there were still no reports of death or serious injury, even after a less powerful, magnitude-5.1 aftershock was felt in the capital and several other aftershocks near the epicenter in a mountainous rural region.
"It was very strong, very substantial," said Campos Benitez, hospital director in Ometepec, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the epicenter.
Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre, who is from Ometepec, was headed there to survey the damage and ordered emergency crews and civil protection to the area to help with the damage. The state did not say how many were displaced.
- Below -- A woman comforts her children outside a school at the Roma neighborhood after a earthquake felt in Mexico City.
AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghin
- Below -- Workers and residents gather at the Angel de la Independencia square after evacuating buildings.
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills
Samantha Rodriguez, a 37-year old environmental consultant, was evacuated from the 11th floor on the Angel Tower office building.
"I thought it was going to pass rapidly but the walls began to thunder and we decided to get out," she said.
Mexico City's airport was closed for a short time but there was no damage to runways and operations were returning to normal.
In Oaxaca, Sylvia Valencia was teaching Spanish to five adult students at the Vinigulaza language school when the earthquake hit.
"Some of us sat down, others ran out," she said. "It was hard, it was strong and it was long."
After the shaking stopped, however, she said they found no damage, not in their own classrooms, nor outside in the historical center of the city, so they went back to class.
Celia Galicia, who works at the U.S. consular office in Oaxaca, had just flown in from Mexico City when it hit.
She said there was panic in the airport, and a dash for the doors. But she said that she saw no damage at the airport and no one was hurt. She says one building in downtown Oaxaca appears to be damaged and has been evacuated.
She added that they've had two strong aftershocks, and that in downtown Oaxaca most people are out on the street at this point.
"It started shaking badly," she said.
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