MEXICO CITY (KRON) — One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico struck off the country’s southern coast overnight Thursday.
The quake toppled hundreds of buildings, triggered tsunami evacuations and sent panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night.
At least 35 people were reported killed so far.
State spokesman Alfonso Martinez spoke by phone as he walked through the streets on Friday and said entire buildings had crumbled onto the sidewalks, reduced to scraps of bricks, adobes and wooden roof beams.
He said he saw “a very high percentage of homes damaged or destroyed,” many of them built 30 to 50 years ago.
The quake matches the force of a magnitude 8.1 quake that hit the country on June 3, 1932, roughly 300 miles west of Mexico City.
A study by Mexico’s National Seismological Service says that quake is believed to have killed about 400 people, causing severe damage around the port of Manzanillo.
A powerful aftershock that hit 19 days later caused a tsunami that devastated 15 miles 25 kilometers of coastline, killing 75 people.
Both the Mexican and U.S. services say Friday night’s quake matches the magnitude of the 1932 temblor. The U.S. Geological Survey puts both at 8.1 while, though the Mexican seismologists calculate them at 8.2. It’s common for different agencies to arrive at slightly different calculations of quake magnitude.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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