7.9 Earthquake strikes Peru..Triggers Tsunami warning

May 7, 2003
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(CNN) -- A magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck off the coast of central Peru on Wednesday evening, killing 15 people and leaving 70 hurt, President Alan Garcia said on national television.


Pedestrians try to make calls on their cell phones in Lima, Peru, after a strong earthquake Wednesday.

Peru's Panamericana TV put the death toll at 17. It showed footage of traffic lights in the capital, Lima, swaying with the quake.

After everything stopped shaking, medics were seen tending to a woman.

The video also showed chunks of plaster that had fallen from buildings.

Some Lima residents were sobbing after the temblor, while others appeared to be praying.

"This has been the most terrifying experience we've had," Gladys Tarnawiecki told CNN from her home in Lima.

"It was extremely long ... never in my life had I experienced this long an earthquake," she said. See the Lima resident describe how people were 'shouting and praying' »

The quake shook inland towns, as well as cities near the coast and the mountains. There were power outages in Lima, Reuters reported, and people ran into the streets in panic as the tremor shook office buildings. Many stayed outside, afraid to go back indoors after radio reports warned them to prepare for possible aftershocks.


Meanwhile, tsunami warnings and watches issued after the quake for several Central and South American countries were canceled Wednesday night, but a tsunami advisory for Hawaii was not.

The advisory means there is no immediate threat, but the situation is being monitored.

"An evaluation of the Pacific-wide tsunami threat is under way, and there is a possibility that Hawaii could be elevated to a watch or warning status," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in an advisory issued about 9:30 p.m. ET.

"If tsunami waves impact Hawaii, their estimated earliest arrival time is 2:14 a.m." Thursday, or 8:14 a.m. ET.

Peru, and most of the South American Pacific Coast, are on border of two tectonic plates: The South American plate, which includes most of the continent, and the Nazca plate, which extends across the Pacific along most of the coast. See a map of where the quake struck »

The quake was felt for two minutes, according to Peruvian media. Broken windows were reported in Lima, and mobile phone service was interrupted.

The quake struck at 6:41 p.m. (7:41 p.m. ET) and was centered 25 miles (61 kilometers) west-northwest of Chincha Alta, Peru, and 90 miles (161 kilometers) south-southeast of Lima, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was 25 miles (47 kilometers) below the Earth's surface.



More tremors followed. A magnitude 5.8 quake occurred at 7:02 p.m. (8:02 p.m. ET). It was farther inland, centered 70 miles (113 kilometers) northeast of Chincha Alta and 111 miles (179 kilometers) east-southeast of Lima.

And at 7:19 p.m., another smaller quake of 5.9 magnitude occurred, centered 30 miles (48 kilometers) south-southwest of Ica, Peru, and 180 miles (290 kilometers) south-southeast of Lima.
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BIV

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BCH

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"This has been the most terrifying experience we've had," Gladys Tarnawiecki told CNN from her home in Lima.
Who? from her home Where?