Chile Earthquake – CCTV footage released
March 1, 2010 Leave a comment
SANTIAGO: A huge magnitude-8.8earthquake struck Chile early on Saturday, killing at least 122 people, knocking down homes and hospitals, and triggering a tsunami that rolled menacingly across the Pacific.
TV Chile reported that a 15-storey building collapsed in the hardest-hit city of Concepcion, where buildings caught fire, major highway bridges collapsed and cracks opened up in the streets.
Cars turned upside down lay scattered across one damaged bridge.
Residents huddled in streets full of rubble of masonry and glass from destroyed homes.
Many were terrified by powerful aftershocks and desperately trying to call friends and family.
Chilean President-elect Sebastian Pinera said 122 people had been killed and the death toll could climb higher.
Tsunami warnings were posted around the Pacific, including the U.S. state of Hawaii, Japan and Russia.
Telephone and power lines were down in much of central Chile, making it difficult to assess the full extent of the damage close to the epicenter.
Chile is the world’s No. 1 copper producer, and the quake halted operations at two major mines.
“Never in my life have I experienced a quake like this, it’s like the end of the world,” one man told local television from the city of Temuco, where the quake damaged homes and forced staff to evacuate the regional hospital.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck 70 miles (115 km) northeast of Concepcion at a depth of 22 miles (35 km) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT).
The capital Santiago, about 200 miles (320 km) north of the epicenter, was also badly hit. The international airport wasclosed for at least 24 hours as the quake destroyed passengerwalkways and shook glass out of doors and windows.
Chile’s Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, suspended operations at its El Teniente and Andina mines, but reported no major damage and said it expected the mines to be up and running in the “coming hours.”