13 killed in Mexico after helicopter crashes as officials tour quake area

A large earthquake with preliminary magnitude struck near San Lorenzo Mexico on Feb. 16 2018

An quake, measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale, struck the southern Pacific Coast of Mexico on Friday, the United States Geological Survey said.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck at 5:39 pm (2339 GMT), was around 10 kilometers south-east of Pinotepa Nacional in the southern state of Oaxaca, the Mexican National Seismological Centre said. The depth of the quake was about 24 kilometers.

Crowds of people gathered on central Reforma Avenue in Mexico City as the ground shook.

"It was very bad", said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City's trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside.

Some damage to buildings was reported in towns near the epicenter.

Additional information was not immediately available.

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Last September, two devastating earthquakes in Mexico killed hundreds of people. After the natural disaster, 60 secondary quakes were recorded, with the strongest of magnitude 5.9, TASS reported. A nearby hospital evacuated patients into the street, some in wheelchairs or carting their IV lines.

On the north side of Mexico City, Julia Hernandez said she felt like she was "in a boat" as the ground swayed beneath her feet. The epicenter was located around 600 km from Mexico City. When I opened my eyes, I saw her eyes in terror.

Two young men standing by a building that collapsed during a 19 September natural disaster were still hugging minutes after the tremor.

She said she was still scared thinking of the September 19 quake that caused 228 deaths in the capital and 141 more in nearby states.

About an hour after the quake, a magnitude 5.8 aftershock in southern Mexico caused tall buildings in Mexico City to briefly sway again. This time an emergency app on her cellphone gave her a 30-second warning before things started to shake. It was also felt in the states of Guerrero, Puebla and Michoacan.

President Enrique Pea Nieto said the National Civil Protection system protocols had been activated.



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