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(AP) Strong, long 7.4 quake shakes Mexico City
By KATHERINE CORCORAN
A strong 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico on Tuesday, shaking central and southern parts of the country, sending a pedestrian bridge crashing atop a transit bus and swaying high-rises in Mexico City. At least one building in the capital appeared on the verge of collapse.
More than 60 homes were damaged near the epicenter in Ometepec in southern Guerrero state, though there were no reports of death or serious injury. Fear and panic spread as a less powerful, magnitude-5.1 aftershock was also felt in the capital, where there were also no reports of deaths.
Other aftershocks were felt around the borders of Oaxaca and Guerrero states close to the epicenter.
"It was very strong, very substantial," Campos Benitez, hospital director in Ometepec.
Police radio operator Marcos Marroquin said there were preliminary reports of 60 houses damaged in the municipality but only a report of a broken arm.
In Mexico City, frightened workers and residents poured into the streets of the capital just minutes after noon local time (18:02 GMT). Telephone service was down in the city and throughout the area where the quake was felt, and some neighborhoods were without power, according to Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who set up a hotline for people to report damage.
In Huajuapan, Guerrero, near the epicenter, hotel owner Marco Antonio Estrada also reported shaken-up guests but no major damage. He said it was the longest and strongest earthquake he had ever felt and people ran out of their homes and cars.
"It was very strong, but we didn't see anything fall," said Irma Ortiz, who runs a guesthouse in Oaxaca. She said their telephones were down, and that the quake shook them side-to-side.
The U.S. Geological Survey set the preliminary magnitude of the first quake at 7.4 and said the epicenter was 11 miles underground. The survey set the aftershock at 5.1.
U.S. President Barack Obama's oldest daughter, Malia, was reported safe while on vacation with a school group in Oaxaca.
Groups of women hugged and cried at Mexico City's Angel of Independence monument, where hundreds of people evacuated from office buildings said they had never felt such a strong earthquake. Others typed ferociously on their Blackberries.