Tsunami After Deadly Earthquake Hits Chile

At least six people have been killed after a huge earthquake struck the Chilean coast, causing buildings to collapse in the capital Santiago and triggering a tsunami. Skip related content

The quake, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale, shook the city for about a minute and a half.

There were also power cuts in the capital, which is about 200 miles away from the quake's epicentre.

That was close to the town of Maule, and happened at a depth of 22 miles at 3:34am (0643 UK time).

The epicentre was also 56 miles from Chile's second large city Concepcion, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river.

About 20 minutes after the quake hit, there was a big aftershock, measuring 6.2.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced the six deaths - and warned that numbers could rise.

She also said parts of the country were without basic services and called for calm.



View 8.8 Magnitude Quake in a larger map

Simon Shalders, who lives in Santiago, told Sky News: "There was a lot of movement. The houses were really shaking, walls were moving backwards and forwards, and doors were swinging open.

"The power is still out here. There's quite a few choppers flying around in Santiago I suppose checking out the worst-affected areas."

He added: "The new buildings in Santiago are designed to withstand fairly strong quakes and they probably held up pretty well.

"Santiago has got a history of earthquakes and basically there's not a lot of old construction in Santiago because of these earthquakes.

"They have fallen down and been rebuilt. They've all had their turns and they build them up again."

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said: "Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated.

"It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicentre and could also be a threat to more distant coasts."

Tsunami warnings have been issued for Chile and Peru and less-urgent tsunami watches are in force for Ecuador, Colombia, Antarctica, Panama and Costa Rica.

Bruce Presgrave from the US Geological Survey told Sky News: "Earthquakes of this size can cause substantial damage and casualties over a fairly wide area.

"This is much bigger than the Haiti earthquake but is in a more sparsely populated area."

He went on: "The latest quake is along what would be considered part of the Pacific 'ring of fire'. It's a very active seismic zone.

"It's just north of the area along the Pacific coast of Chile where the largest earthquake recorded in the 20th century occurred.

"That was the 9.5 magnitude event in 1960. There was substantial damage and casualties in Chile. It also produced a Pacific-wide tsunami that did damage and caused some casualties in places such as Hawaii and as far as Japan."

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