Earthquake in Costa Rica kills at least 2, damages churches

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CNS) — A strong earthquake struck northwest Costa Rica Sept. 5, killing at least two people, damaging homes and some Catholic churches, setting off a tsunami warning and rattling nerves.

The magnitude-7.6 quake, felt throughout parts of Central America, struck at 8:42 a.m. local time near the small city of Nicoya in Costa Rica’s tourism-heavy Guanacaste province.

“It was really strong and very long. We were scared,” said Douglas Cueillo, who manages programming at the Catholic radio station Radio Fides, which broadcasts throughout the country. The quake lasted about 15 seconds, and several small aftershocks followed.

The Costa Rican Red Cross attributed two deaths to the quake, including one woman who apparently suffered a heart attack. The quake’s location and depth — about 25 miles below the surface — triggered a tsunami warning that was lifted later in the morning by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

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