Latin America & Caribbean

Powerful earthquake rocks Costa Rica's north-west

A powerful earthquake in north-western Costa Rica has killed two people.

The Red Cross said a 55-year-old woman died of a heart attack in Guanacaste, near the epicentre of the quake, and a construction worker was killed when a wall collapsed.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.6-magnitude quake occurred beneath the Nicoya peninsula, 140km (87 miles) west of the capital, San Jose.

A tsunami alert which had been issued for the area has been cancelled.

The quake rattled buildings in some parts of the capital, San Jose, Reuters news agency reported.

Power and communications were briefly knocked out, according to the Costa Rican authorities.

Regional media reported the quake could be felt as far away as Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Map of Costa Rica

The US Geological Survey originally said it had a magnitude of 7.9, but revised it down to 7.6.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which had at first issued a tsunami warning for the Pacific coast of most of Central and South America, has cancelled its alert.

President Laura Chinchillla said Costa Rica's emergency services were surveying the damage.

She said that so far there had been no reports of any serious damage to buildings.

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