At least 5 people died, including children, in southern Mexico after a powerful earthquake of magnitude 8.1 struck off the coast of Mexico coast, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said on Thursday. The authorities claim that there were possibilities of hazardous widespread tsunami waves following the quake that shook buildings in Mexico City.
"Tsunami waves reaching more than three meters above the tide level are possible along the coasts of Mexico," USGS told Telegraph. It added that other countries also witnessed lower waves due to the quake.
Reuters reported that the epicentre of the quake was was 54 miles (87 km) southwest of the town of Pijijiapan in the southern state of Chiapas, at a depth of 43 miles. Governor Manuel Velasquez said that at least 3 people have died in the state. Two more people were killed in neighbouring Tabasco state, the state governor said. Tsunami warnings were also issued for Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador.
The civil protection officials were checking for damage in Chiapas, but the quake was so powerful that it scared the residents in Mexico City more than 650 miles away.
According to a Reuters witness, people in Mexico City ran out into the streets in pyjamas and alarms sounded after the quake struck just before midnight. Power cut was also caused in some neighbourhoods.
"I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn't know what to do. I nearly fell over," Luis Carlos Briceno, an architect, 31, who was visiting Mexico City told Reuters.
AFP reported that the government has said at least two people have died in southern Mexico. Reports also said that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has confirmed there is a tsunami, with the largest wave being 0.7 metres or 2.3 feet.
President Jimmy Morales addressed the disaster on national television and urged the residents to stay calm while emergency crews checked for damage. The local radio in the neighbouring Guatemala, reported one death. However, it could not be confirmed.
"We have reports of some damage and the death of one person, even though we still don't have exact details," Morales said. He said the possible death occurred in San Marcos state near the border with Mexico.
The social media users also shared videos of swaying buildings and landmarks as the quake struck. Several videos from the city showed the night sky was lit up green during the earthquake. Reports say that this phenomenon generally appears during a magnitude 5.9 or higher quake.
According to Mexico civil protection agency, this was the strongest earthquake to hit the country since a devastating 1985 tremor that toppled buildings and killed thousands.