Mexico: 7.2-magnitude quake strikes southern Pacific coast, no casualties reported

NATION-NOW     Mexico helicopter crash kills 13 in wake of earthquake     
       Mexico helicopter crash kills 13 in wake of earthquake

NATION-NOW Mexico helicopter crash kills 13 in wake of earthquake Mexico helicopter crash kills 13 in wake of earthquake

A strong natural disaster shook southern and central Mexico Friday, causing panic less than six months after two devastating quakes that killed hundreds of people.

There were no deaths as a direct result of the natural disaster, although a number of people died when a military helicopter crashed while surveying the damage.

An quake, measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale, struck the southern Pacific Coast of Mexico on Friday, the United States Geological Survey said.

Mexican Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete traveled together with Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat and several government officials to the city of Pinotapa de San Luis, the zone that was thwarted by the strong quake.

The epicentre was 24.6 km underground near the town of Pinotepa de Don Luis in Oaxaca state.

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But the magnitude-5.8 aftershock that struck Friday about an hour after the magnitude-7.2 quake led some residents of Jamiltepec to decide to spend the night outdoors, a common practice after strong shakes in the balmy region.

The state, along with Mexico City, is still reeling from earthquakes in September that killed at least 471 people and caused widespread damage.

Around 100 people were killed in Oaxaca in early September when an 8.2-magnitude natural disaster struck the region, destroying many houses.

Navarrete told the broadcaster Televisa that the pilot had lost control around 30 to 40 meters before landing.

Authorities said no deaths directly linked to the quake had been reported nationally.

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"It was terrible", said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City's trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside.

The department said the victims had been waiting for the helicopter, but did not provide more details.

Some damage to buildings was reported in towns near the epicenter.

Standing in the middle of the street, her eyes glued to her fifth-floor apartment, Graciela Escalante, 72, could hardly speak. We barely managed to get down the stairs. The people were in state of shock and went running into the street.

"We thought everything was going to collapse again". After the natural disaster, there have been registered 261 aftershocks including a 5.8 magnitude one.

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Mexico is no stranger to earthquakes.

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