Ecuador earthquake: 'God, please stop that' - eyewitness accounts

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Quake damage in Guayaquil, 17 AprilImage source, AFP

Ecuador has been struck by a massive magnitude-7.8 earthquake that has left more than 230 people dead and hundreds injured.

The epicentre was near the northern coastal town of Muisne, but the effects were felt hundreds of kilometres away, including in the capital, Quito, and second city, Guayaquil.

People in Ecuador have been contacting BBC News with their stories.

'It lasted for minutes and was very scary' - Juan Jose, Guayaquil, Ecuador

I am safe with my family now but the earthquake was an awful experience. It lasted for minutes and was very scary.

The streets started to move like waves. The roof fell in on a mall here and a bridge collapsed.

My daughter is still afraid. The worst affected towns are Pedernales, Manta, Muisne, Portoviejo and Guayaquil.

Image source, Eduardo Viteri
Image caption,
Eduardo Viteri took this picture of a road leading to Ecuador's second city, Guayaquil

My uncle lives in Portoviejo and says the damage there is very bad.

The electricity service is still very unstable here and the phone lines are very bad.

We are scared about another quake happening.

'We could see the electricity lines shaking' - Cristian Ibarra Santillan in Quito

We've had lots of small tremors over the last few months, so I thought it was just another one of those to start with, which is why I was slow to react.

When I heard people yelling, children crying and dogs barking, I realised it wasn't. My mirror started shaking, then I heard a bottle fall downstairs from my apartment.

I grabbed my dog and hid under the table. The worst part was realising it wasn't going away and that I might be found here if the worst happened.

Image source, Cristian Ibarra Santillan

So I grabbed my dog and ran out into the street. We could see the electricity lines shaking - in other parts of the city they've collapsed, apparently.

I've gone back to my apartment now. I've seen images of dead people on the news, crushed by falling objects, that I'd rather not have seen.

They are saying this is the worst quake since 1979 to strike the country.

Media caption,

Stephan Kuffner, who lives in Quito, says he felt the vibrations for minutes after the quake struck

'I only was thinking "God, please stop that"'- Carla Perralta in Boyaca

I never felt something like that in my life, never! Because in Ecuador this is not common. It was so strong. I was feeling very, very scared.

Suddenly everything was dark; the light was off; like a movie. I only was thinking 'God, please stop that, because maybe I die today.'

'I am very scared and sad' - Vibeke Johannessen in Quito

Image source, Vibeke Johannessen

Just after 7pm we felt a long earthquake while driving. I didn't understand it at first.

Then I saw other cars were shaking too and people starting to go out of their cars and buildings.

The power went off in the area we were in. We were happy we were in the car and felt safe there.

Just now, there was an after-quake and we were on the 9th floor. It was very scary and lasted for 30 seconds. They say it was 6.2 near the coast.

We are trying to sleep because it's 02:30 here, but I am very scared and sad.

'Guayaquil got hit pretty hard' - Simon Gordon

I can tell you, that was an extremely scary experience. I live in Guayaquil and we got hit pretty hard.

Cities around us have been affected so badly. My first ever experience of an earthquake and I'm just relieved that my wife and family are all OK. RIP to all those who passed. What an absolute tragedy.

Image source, Simon Gordon