Mexico: 13 dead after helicopter surveying damage of magnitude 7.2 earthquake crashes

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
February 17, 2018, 11:08:09 AM EST

A magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook southern Mexico on Friday evening, causing some damage near the epicenter.

While there were no reported deaths from the earthquake, 13 people died Saturday morning when a military helicopter crashed after surveying the damage, according to Reuters.

The helicopter was carrying Mexico’s interior minister and the governor of Oaxaca and crashed on top of two vans in an open field when attempting to land.

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While the senior officials survived, 12 people on the ground were killed at the scene. Another person later died at the hospital. Fifteen other people sustained injuries.

"Skies were clear and winds were fairly light, averaging at only 8 km/h (5 mph) at the time of the crash," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said.

The earthquake hit around 5:45 p.m. local time, 68 miles (109 km) west-southwest of Oaxaca, Mexico, with shaking felt across the region, including Mexico City, according to the USGS.

earthquake map

This map shows the epicenter of Friday evening's earthquake in southern Mexico.

Although the epicenter of the earthquake was located near the coast, there was no tsunami danger.

Nearly one hour after the initial earthquake hit, a magnitude-5.8 aftershock jolted the region with an epicenter closer to the coast.

Several more aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 4.2 to 5.0 occurred later Friday evening, with epicenters at or just inland from the coast.

People rushed to the streets as shaking caused objects to fall off shelves, tiles fell from ceilings and buildings showed signs of damage.

Nearly a million homes and businesses lost power following the earthquake, which damaged at least 50 homes in Oaxaca, according to Reuters.

CFE reported that there was no damage to their infrastructure and that no electric power generation plants were damaged.

Fortunately, the weather will aid in cleanup and recovery efforts into the new week.

Only a few stray showers are expected in the highest terrain of the region through early week, with sunshine dominating most of the time. The next meaningful chance for rain should not arrive until late week.

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