A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico today, sending panicked people into the streets. No early reports of major damage or casualties surfaced, despite widespread accounts of shattered windows and falling debris. The US Geological Survey said the quake was centered northwest of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday, and it was felt strongly in the resort city. Reuters calls it one of the biggest quakes to hit the nation in several years.
"There is a crisis of panic," said Alicia Dominguez, who answered the phone at the civil protection office in Acapulco. "It's mainly the tourists who are shaken." The quake struck 170 miles southwest of Mexico City, which shook for at least 30 seconds as people were enjoying a day off. People fled high rises and took to the streets, where some were seen in bathrobes and pajamas talking on their cellphones. "I started to hear the walls creak and I said, 'Let's go,'" said Rodolfo Duarte, 32, who fled his third-floor apartment. The quake was relatively shallow, at about 15 miles.