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Deadly earthquake hits off the coast of southern Mexico

By Joshua Berlinger, Mariano Castillo and Ray Sanchez, CNN Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT) September 9, 2017 (CNN)A massive 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Mexico early Friday morning, killing at least three people and triggering tsunamis.

 
The quake, which was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, struck 74 miles (120 kilometers) off the Pacific Coast at 12:49 a.m. ET Friday.
 
Mexico Earthquake Map
 

Latest updates

    -- A tsunami has been confirmed in Mexico, with one wave coming in at 3 feet (1 meter), according to a tweet from the National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's verified account.
    -- The main quake had a depth of 69.7 kilometers (43 miles), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was a particularly shallow quake, according to Jana Pursely, a geophysicist at the USGS.
    -- The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City, close to both the Mexican states of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, and Oaxaca in the Middle America trench.
    -- The USGS has reported multiple aftershocks, including four with tremors measuring above 5.0 in magnitude.
    -- Chiapas Gov. Manuel Velasco told Foro TV that there have been reports of damage, including hospitals that have lost power and buildings with collapsed roofs. He said that he will cancel school on Friday.
    -- A tsunami threat is being evaluated by the Tsunami Warning System. The Tsunami Warning Center advised the public that tsunami waves could hit within three hours off the coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and even Ecuador.
     
    mexico earthquake street
    A dark street can be seen in the street in Mexico City.

    Chiapas hit hard

    Gonazalo Segundo was awoken by the shaking.
    "I was already in bed. I was in my place so we were expecting to have a tranquil night but suddenly ... everything breaks apart, glasses, furniture and everything," he told CNN over the phone from Chiapas.
    The states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, home to at about 9 million people, are both located close to the earthquake's epicenter. They are two of the poorest areas in Mexico, and were likely hit the hardest.
     
    mexico earthquake SR
    First responders at the scene after the quake.
     
    "We have experienced earthquakes before, but not like this. It was so intense," Segundo said. "We are alive, that's the important thing."
    Many of those in Chiapas may not have been so lucky. The earthquake struck in the early hours of the morning when most people would have been sleeping.
    Pursely of the USGS told CNN she expects damage along the coast, meaning a costly cleanup could be on the way. These types of shallow quakes have the potential to be very dangerous, she said.
    CNN attempted to contact two seaside hotels in Chiapas but the lines appeared to be down.
     
    Mexico City shakes
    On his verified twitter account, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted, "Civil protection protocols are activated, including the National Emergency Committee."
    It appears even the capital, hundreds of miles away, was not spared from the quake's tremors. Mexico CIty Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said parts of the city are without in an interview on Foro TV.
    Videos on social media showed significant tremors in various parts of the country as well as major damage to buildings and infrastructure, including traffic lights shaking.
     
    Paulaina Gomez-Wulschner was driving when it struck. She heard an earthquake alarm go off on the radio, parked her car and joined others stood in the middle of the street to avoid falling objects.
    "This was a very, very strong earthquake, one of the strongest I've felt, and I was here in 1985 when that earthquake collapsed Mexico City," she told CNN."It was very scary," she said.
     
    Gomez-Wulschner said she could hear sirens, ambulances and helicopters in the aftermath, but did not see any immediate damage near her.
    But a receptionist at the Intercontinental in Mexico City said he only felt light shaking.
     

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