Major 7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Honduras

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

7.3 Mw

The United States Geological Survey said a 7.3 Mw earthquake struck on Thursday, at 08:24:45 UTC (02:24:45 AM local time) off the coast line of Honduras.

The epicenter was located 64 km (39 miles) northeast of the island of Roatán, 130 km (80 miles) north-northeast of La Ceiba.

A tsunami alert was issued for Honduras, Guatemala and Belize and along Central America's Caribbean shore. There have been no reports of aftershocks.

Original reports indicated six were killed and seventeen injured and a multitude of homes, schools, churches and factories collapsed. The Democracy Bridge in El Progreso also collapsed.

"People were startled. They started walking, running, doing everything they could to get to higher ground about two miles away," said a resort owner, "I have been on the island for 14 years, this is the worst I have seen."

"It is not alarming, it is not a calamity. For the type of earthquake it was, the damage is minor," Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

"I felt the car rock and I started to hear little bits of debris from the building next door hitting the roof. It was frightening because it was shaking a lot. I've never felt anything like it." said a security guard in the capital of Tegucigalpa.

The Organization of American States (OAS) summit will proceed in San Pedro Sula, Honduras next week June 2-3 as only one building there suffered damages. Federal representatives from 35 states of the Americas are to attend.

The President of the Republic of China, Ma Ying-jeou, and his contingency were uninjured after their arrival in Belize Thursday. Ma continued his itinerary to meet with the Belize governor-general and prime minister and will then travel to Guatemala and El Salvador.

The port of Puerto Cortes will be temporarily closed due to damaged machinery and equipment according to the national port authority.

El Salvador, Guatemala and northern Nicaragua also felt tremors, but suffered no huge damages.


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