At least four people have been killed, and dozens are missing, after a powerful 7.1 Richter scale earthquake rippled through Mexico, bringing down buildings and tearing up roads.
The tremor caused buildings to sway violently in the center of Mexico City, including in the historic districts of El Centro and Roma. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said some buildings collapsed, but it was too early to tell if there were casualties there.
The deaths occurred in the State of Mexico, which surrounds the capital, Gov. Alfredo del Mazo told the Televisa news network. They included a quarry worker who was killed when the quake unleashed a rockslide and another person who was hit by a falling lamppost, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. Geological Survey calculated the preliminary magnitude at 7.1. The epicenter was about 93 miles southeast of Mexico City in the state of Puebla.
Rescue vehicles screamed through Mexico City toward damaged buildings, and flights into the capital were rerouted to other cities.
In the upscale neighborhood of Condesa, in the heart of the city, balconies crumbled and massive cracks opened up on apartment facades. Police cordoned off entire blocks because of fears that gas leaks could cause explosions.
The epicenter of the quake was next to Atencingo in the Puebla state, some 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.
The tremor happened as an earthquake drill was being held in Mexico City, on the 32nd anniversary of a quake that killed up to 10,000 people.
The country capital is prone to major damage in earthquakes because it sits on an old lake bed that amplifies the shaking. Susan Hough, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, said Tuesday’s quake was likely related to one that struck off the coast of Mexico’s Oaxaca state on Sept. 7, which the government calculated as a magnitude 8.2 and the USGS as an 8.1.