Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico hit by strong earthquake near Acapulco

A large earthquake has struck near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and put the epicentre at 15 miles (25km) east of Ometepec, in Guerrero state.

Eleven people were injured in the quake, two of them seriously, Interior Minister Alejandro Poire said.

Witnesses in the capital, Mexico City, said the tremor sent office workers rushing out onto the streets.

At least 800 houses were damaged in Guerrero state, local officials said.

The state governor, Angel Aguirre, told Milenio television that so far there were no casualties in Guerrero state or nearby Oaxaca state, adding that the authorities were checking schools and public buildings near Ometepec.

The interior ministry said it had registered 18 aftershocks to the quake.

The director of the country's seismological service, Carlos Valdes Gonzalez, said one of them had a magnitude of 5.3.

The BBC's Will Grant, in Mexico City, says buildings swayed for at least a minute in the capital.

A pedestrian bridge collapsed and crushed a microbus in Mexico City, but there were no reports of deaths.

Office workers and residents were sent running into the streets in wealthy districts and poor neighbourhoods alike, he reports.

Thundering walls

Samantha Rodriguez, a 37-year old environmental consultant, was evacuated from the 11th floor of an office block.

Image caption A bus was crushed by a collapsed bridge in Mexico City

"I thought it was going to pass rapidly but the walls began to thunder and we decided to get out," she said.

Sirens could be heard across the city, and police helicopters are crisscrossing the skies.

"I swear I never felt one so strong, I thought the building was going to collapse," said Sebastian Herrera, 42, a businessman from a neighbourhood hit hard in Mexico's devastating 1985 earthquake, which killed thousands.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's Twitter account said there had been damage to the water supply system and that some homes would be without water for a day.

Mobile phone networks have been affected, our correspondent says, and people have had trouble contacting their loved ones.

Gabino Cue, the governor of Oaxaca state, said via Twitter that the quake had caused cracks in school buildings and damaged roofs in one part of the state.

The USGS said the epicentre was 11 miles (18km) underground.

The US president's daughter, 13-year-old Malia Obama, was on a school trip in Oaxaca. A White House official said she was safe and had never been in danger.

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