Powerful, 7.8-magnitude quake hits Ecuador’s central coast

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A powerful, 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Ecuador’s central coast on Saturday, cracking buildings and rattling homes as far away as the capital of Quito.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered 27 kilometers (16 miles) south-southeast of Muisne, Ecuador, in a sparsely populated area of fishing ports popular with tourists. It had a depth of 19 kilometers.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said hazardous tsunami waves are possible for some coasts.

Local media reported that at least one house and an overpass had collapsed in the port city of Guayaquil.

In the capital, the quake was felt for about 40 seconds and people fled buildings to the streets in fear. Quito is located about 170 kilometers (105 miles) from the quake’s epicenter. The quake appeared to have knocked out electricity and cel phone coverage in several neighborhoods in the capital

Photos of shopping centers in Quito with their roofs collapsing were seen on social media but authorities said they were still surveying the damage and there had been no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

Several aftershocks, some as strong as 5.6 on the Richter scale, continued in the hour after the first quake, which occurred at nightfall.

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