Tsunami alert as magnitude 8 tremor rattles buildings in the capital

A very powerful earthquake has struck off the coast of Mexico, shaking buildings in the capital and sparking tsunami warnings. 

The USGS said a magnitude 8 quake struck  123 km (76 miles) southwest of the town of Pijijiapan, at a depth of 33 km (21 miles).

Widespread, hazardous tsunami waves were possible, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said. 

“Tsunami waves reaching more than three meters above the tide level are possible along the coasts of Mexico,” it said, with lower waves in other countries.

 A handout photo made available by the United States Geological Survey shows an intensity map showing the location of a 8.0 magnitude earthquake Credit: EPA

Civil protection officials were checking for damage in Chiapas, but the quake was so powerful that frightened residents in Mexico City more than 650 miles away fled apartment buildings, often in their pajamas, and gathered in groups in the street.

Around midnight buildings swayed strongly for more than minute, loosening light fixtures from ceilings. Helicopters crisscrossed the sky above Mexico City with spotlights. Some neighborhoods kept electricity while others remained in darkness. 

More updates to follow.

7:00AM

‘It felt horrible’

In one central neighbourhood, dozens of people stood outside after the quake, some wrapped in blankets against the cool night air. Children were crying.

Liliana Villa, 35, was in her apartment when the earthquake struck and she fled to the street in her pyjamas.

“It felt horrible, and I thought, ‘this is going to fall’.”

6:58AM

Videos show moment quake struck

6:55AM

Reports of hotel guests trapped

In Oaxaca, there are reports on social media of  guests being trapped in a hotel. 

6:46AM

Pictures emerge of damage

6:40AM

‘I nearly fell over’

Residents in Mexico City are describing the moment when the quake struck. 

Luis Carlos Briceno, an architect, 31, who was visiting Mexico City, said:

“I had never been anywhere where the earth moved so much. At first I laughed, but when the lights went out I didn’t know what to do. I nearly fell over.”

6:39AM

Strongest quake since 1985

Mexico’s civil protection agency said it was the strongest earthquake to hit the country since a devastating 1985 tremor that toppled buildings and killed thousands.

6:35AM

Big aftershock hits Mexico

A 5,7 magnitude earthquake has hit near the coast of Oaxaca in Mexico. 

6:32AM

Guatemala also hit by quake

The earthquake also rattled large parts of Guatemala. Residents in the city of Quetzaltenango say…

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