Strong earthquake strikes southern Mexican state of Chiapas


TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico (AP)

A strong earthquake shook parts of southern Mexico on Thursday night, sending thousands of area residents fleeing from buildings into the streets. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

The magnitude-6.1 earthquake hit Chiapas state at 8:09 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors temblors worldwide.

The temblor was centered near the state capital of Tuxtla Gutierrez, 690 kilometers (430 miles) southeast of Mexico City,

Thousands of people in Tuxtla Gutierrez ran out of homes and buildings as the ground trembled and windows rattled. Electricity for much of the city was also cut off for several minutes.

“I was very scared. I thought that everything would fall down,” said Araceli de la Cruz, who ran to the street with her two small children.

De la Cruz said the tremor reminded her of the devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, where she lived as a girl.

“I remembered when my school fell down around me,” she said, crying.

The director of Chiapas’ Civil Protection agency, Alfredo Chang, said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The tremor also rattled buildings in the swampy, oil-rich city of Villahermosa in neighboring Tabasco state.

“I’ve never felt anything like it,” said Alex Zendejas, 28, who was in his 10th floor office when the earthquake hit.

The director of Tabasco’s Civil Protection agency, Rurico Dominguez, said electricity was temporarily cut off in some villages but there were no reports of injuries.

The quake was also felt as far away as Mexico City, where some residents fled their homes, and in northwestern Guatemala.