Thursday, May 28, 2009

7.1 magnitude earthquake off Honduras coast

Honduras – A strong earthquake struck early Thursday off the coast of Honduras, sending people running into the streets throughout northern Honduras and as far away as Guatemala. No major damage was immediately reported.

Across Honduras' Caribbean coast, people ran into the streets in their pajamas when the magnitude-7.1 quake struck at at 3:24 a.m. (0824 GMT), according to Ana Maria Rivera, spokeswoman for Honduras' emergency commission.

The quake struck at the relatively shallow depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers), according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado. The epicenter was 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of La Ceiba, Honduras, and 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the capital, Tegucigalpa.

A tsunami watch was in effect for Honduras, Belize and Guatemala, according to the Pacific tsunami warning center.

Rivera said a stadium wall collapsed in Puerto Cortez, on the Caribbean coast. A major bridge across the Ulua River suffered major damage in the northern town of El Progreso, mayoral spokesman Osman Hernandez told Radio Satelite.

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