A powerful earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale rattled Mexico City last night, knocking out power to the Latin republic's capital and killing at least two people. Emergency services said an 18-year-old man was killed in the town of Iguala when a roof collapsed onto him and another man was killed when a dislodged boulder crashed into his vehicle as he was driving along the busy Mexico City-Acapulco Highway.
The temblor struck as streets and stores were packed with Christmas shoppers along Mexico City's famed retail and entertainment district the Zona Rosa. Thousands of people fled department stores such as La Condesa, running out into the streets in panic, as the loss of street lights and traffic signals due to a power failure snarled traffic in one of the world's largest cities, with an estimated population of 28 million people. The earthquake was felt as far away as the resort city of Acapulco, on the Pacific coast in Mexico's popular Mexican Riviera. Communications also went off line for a while after the quake, including telephone and some cable television services, with millions of people trying to call friends and relatives once the shaking had ceased.
Many people feared a repeat of the catastrophic 1985 earthquake that struck Mexico City, which killed almost 20,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damages. The enormous metropolis sits on a large plain located between two active volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl and is highly susceptible to seismic events