Mexico earthquake: Death toll rises, tsunami waves reported

Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 08, 2017

At least 61 people were killed and a tsunami reached Mexico's beaches due to a massive 8.1 earthquake that rocked the southern Mexico area late Thursday night.

The quake struck just before 10 p.m. Pacific time about 60 miles southwest of Pijijiapan, a small Mexican town in the state of Chiapas located near the border with Guatemala. 

The USGS reported multiple aftershocks, including at least six measuring above a 5.0 in magnitude.

A tsunami was confirmed in Mexico with one wave coming in at three feet, according to the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Tsunami waves taller than 10 feet could reach the coast of Mexico, with smaller waves reaching Ecuador, Vanuatu and New Zealand.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto mobilized Mexico's Army, Marines and Federal Police.

According to an Associated Press report, Mexican authorities confirmed 61 people were killed, including two children in the state of Tabasco.

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Tabasco Gov. Arturo Nunez said that one of the children died when a wall collapsed, and the other was a baby who died in a children's hospital that lost electricity, cutting off the supply to the infant's ventilator.

Authorities said the other three deaths were in Chiapas state, in San Cristobal de las Casas, the AP reported.

Oaxaca state Gov. Alejandro Murat told local news media Friday that at least 23 people in his state died.

About 1.85 million homes lost power after the quake, but 74% of them have had service returned, according to Peña Nieto.

A study by Mexico's National Seismological Service says Thursday's deadly quake matches the force of a magnitude 8.1 quake that hit the country on June 3, 1932, roughly 300 miles (500 kilometers) west of Mexico City.

The 1932 earthquake is believed to have killed about 400 people, causing severe damage around the port of Manzanillo. A powerful aftershock that hit 19 days later caused a tsunami that devastated 15 miles 25 kilometers of coastline, killing 75 people.

Both the Mexican and U.S. services say Friday night's quake matches the magnitude of the 1932 temblor. The U.S. Geological Survey puts both at 8.1 while, though the Mexican seismologists calculate them at 8.2. It's common for different agencies to arrive at slightly different calculations of quake magnitude.

CNN and Associated Press contributed to this report.