A powerful earthquake shook Mexico’s Pacific coast Monday, toppling two resort hotels, cracking homes and bridges and killing at least 30 people, authorities said.
At least 90 others were reported injured. The 7.6-magnitude quake was felt as far north as Oklahoma City.
All of the known dead were in coastal communities in the Pacific states of Jalisco and Colima.
“The injured are everywhere,” said Livas de la Garza, a textile shop owner in the popular resort of Manzanillo, one of the hardest-hit areas.
The quake struck at 9:37 a.m. and was centered underwater three miles south of the angled Pacific coast near Manzanillo. The U.S. Geological Survey put the epicenter of the quake 15 miles east-southeast of Manzanillo and about 335 miles west of Mexico City.
The tremor lasted about two minutes and was followed by two small aftershocks. The quake opened fissures up to a foot wide in the main coastal highway.
Rescuers, clearing rubble with bulldozers and cranes, pulled 12 bodies and 10 injured people from the Costa Real hotel in Manzanillo.
Red Cross workers and sailors from the nearby port crawled over the wreckage of the hotel, which resembled gargantuan dominoes pushed over by a giant. Red roof tiles were scattered around.
The lawn area alongside the hotel swimming pool had been turned into a temporary morgue, where four bodies covered by sheets lay side by side. Nearby was a small white coffin, obviously intended for a child. Rescue workers took another body away in an ambulance.
A strong aftershock startled the blue-masked rescue workers, who still labored with picks and shovels at sunset.
“The rescue is going to be difficult,” Navy Adm. Manuel Barron told the Mexican TV network Televisa. “Sounds have been heard. We think there are more people in the rubble.”
At least 30 guests were registered at the hotel and 27 employees were working, the Notimex news agency said. It was not clear how many were in the building when the quake hit.
The temblor cut telephone service and electricity to many areas, including the resort itself. Authorities canceled flights to Manzanillo, citing runway damage.
A state of emergency was declared in Jalisco, where President Ernesto Zedillo sent five Cabinet members to assess the damage and coordinate a military emergency plan.
“I regret this loss of human life,” Zedillo said before flying as scheduled Monday to Washington for his first state visit. “We are doing all we can to provide aid and rescue services to possible victims.”
Zedillo said he had ordered military and civil defense workers to coordinate an emergency response, workers to repair damaged highways and inspectors to check port facilities for possible quake damage.
“The damages do not appear to be of an unmanageable magnitude,” Zedillo said.
After reporting up to 45 deaths in Jalisco state earlier in the day, authorities there late Monday sharply revised downward the death toll in the state to just 10.