September 15, 2012 By

Powerful Earthquake Strikes Off Chilean Coast

tsunamiAn earthquake measuring a mighty 8.2 magnitude on Richter scale struck the coast of northern Chile late Tuesday causing small landslides, triggering a tsunami and sapping power and telephone lines.

Five people died including one woman, two due to heart attacks and three crushed to death, said Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo. About 300 prisoners escaped from the northern port city of Iquique amidst the tsunami alerts, he said.

According to the University of Chile Seismological Service, the earthquake hit off the Chilean coast at 8.46 p.m. (11.46 p.m. GMT) and the epicentre, with a depth of 44 km and is located 99 km northwest of the mining port of Iquique, near the border with Peru. The Chilean National Office for Emergency on Tuesday evacuated more than 10,000 people in coastal areas, Xinhua reported.

Penailillo told reporters that around hundred Special Forces would be sent to the area of the remote town of Iquique, around 200 kilometers from the Peruvian border. Chile is located on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basic that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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