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60 Feared Killed As Landslide Engulfs Bus In Mexico

Seismologists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico said it was a 6.2 quake and the US Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.1 in magnitude, indicating a strong earthquake apt to cause damage and injuries.
by Staff Writers
Puebla, Mexico (AFP) Jul 05, 2007
Rescuers pulled more bodies, including children, on Thursday from the wreckage of a bus swallowed by a landslide in Mexico which may have killed up to 60 people, local authorities said. Emergency workers, who spent the night digging up the bus with the help of the army, said they had recovered a total 14 bodies at the site of the accident in the central state of Puebla. They earlier expressed little hope of recovering any survivors among the bus's passengers.

The first body, of a 40-year-old woman, was recovered by rescuers late Wednesday more than 12 hours after the accident, the governor of Puebla Mario Marin announced.

A further 13 were recovered in the morning, among them six men, two women, two children and three who were not yet identified.

The bus was completely engulfed in mud, earth and rocks in a sudden landslide around 7:00 am (1200 GMT) Wednesday morning near the mountain village of Zacacoapan, in the Sierra Negra area of Puebla.

"We know that there were more than 40 passengers on board, according to witnesses who said the bus was full," said a local official. Others said there could have been as many as 60 passengers.

Rescuers worked for hours hauling mud and rocks away from the accident scene before reaching the bus.

"We went all around the scene, we found that the bus is totally buried, and has a huge amount of earth on top of it. So we sent in machinery to try to clean it out," said Asuncion Cid, a town official from near the accident scene.

Townspeople were distraught at the travelers' fate.

"I was driving my SUV, we were behind the bus when we saw the landslide," witness Mario Jimenez told AFP.

"We tried to dig with bare hands and shovels, but got nowhere."

earlier related report
Strong quake hits southern Mexico
Tuxtla Gutierrez (AFP) - A strong earthquake shook southernmost Mexico late Thursday, knocking out power to large parts of Chiapas state and causing panic among residents, according to seismologists.

People rushed from their homes in fear in several areas of southern Mexico, but no injuries were reported and Chiapas public security secretary Daniel Rogue told AFP that there was only "light damage to some buildings" in the state.

In Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital, power went off, ceilings fell and windows broke in the commercial district, where dozens of people fled terrified into the street in search of safety.

Electricity services also shut down in Oaxaca, according to reports.

Seismologists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico said it was a 6.2 quake and the US Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.1 in magnitude, indicating a strong earthquake apt to cause damage and injuries.

The magnitude reading was based on the Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.

The quake hit at 8:09 pm Thursday (0109 GMT Friday), at a depth of 125 kilometers (78 miles) 40 kilometers (25 miles) west and southwest of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico and 390 kilometers (240 miles) northwest of Guatemala City.

Jesus Duran, a spokesman for the state oil company Pemex, told Reforma newspaper there was no damage reported at the company's refinery in Salina Cruz.

"All of the plants are normal .... there are no problems," he said.

Authorities in three states ordered evacuations of buildings and businesses.

On April 13, a quake of 6.2 magnitude hit Mexico without causing major damage. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the southern state of Guerrero near the Pacific coast.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Strong Quake Off Guatemala Sends People Rushing From Homes
Guatemala City (AFP) June 13, 2007
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck off Guatemala's Pacific coast Wednesday, causing panic in the Central American country although there were no immediate reports of casualties. The quake, which struck at 1:29 pm (1929 GMT) was also felt in neighboring El Salvador, where employees rushed out of buildings to seek safety in open spaces.







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