Apr 16, 2016 10:35 PM
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near Ecuador's coast Saturday, shaking homes as far away as the country's capital of Quito and leaving 16 people dead, authorities said.
The temblor struck just before 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) with an epicenter 16 miles south-southeast of the coastal town of Muisne, located on the country's coast, the U.S. National Geological Survey said. The quake was recorded at a depth of about 12 miles.
Ecuador's vice president, Jorge Glas, said 28 people were killed, according to preliminary information.
President Rafael Correa said states of emergency were declared for the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Rios, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Santo Domingo.
The quake was strongly felt in country's capital of Quito, around 100 miles away.
"I was in my house watching a movie and everything started to shake. I ran out into the street and now I don't know what's going to happen," Lorena Cazares, 36, a telecommunications worker in Quito, told Reuters.
A local Ecuadorian television station reported that houses collapsed in Esmeraldas, the province where Muisne is located. Video posted online showed damage to a shopping mall in Portoviejo, around 120 miles south of Muisne, and people crowded in the street outside as alarms rang.
There is no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. NOAA's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves up to 3 feet above tide level were possible for some coastal areas of Ecuador.
Two smaller quakes were recorded near Ecuador's coast before and after the 7.8-magnitude temblor, according to the USGS. A 4.8 occurred about 10 minutes before the larger quake, and a 5.4-magnitude earthquake happened 30 minutes after it, the USGS said.