A strong 6.5 magnitude quake struck the Pacific coast of Costa Rica near its capital city of San Jose Sunday night, causing massive panic and pushing items from store shelves.
The quake, initially measured as a 6.8 magnitude, was centered 69 kilometers southwest of San Jose at a depth of 20 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The quake hit in a rural area near the coastal tourist town of Jaco, where there are few tall buildings. Costa Rica's National Emergency Commission said it is monitoring the situation.
Three people succumbed to heart attacks during the earthquake; two in Jaco and one in Coronado, CNN reported. One structure was evacuated after walls showed signs of collapsing.
The Costa Rican government reported electricity loss in some areas, and rockslides obstructing roadways.
There was no Pacific-wide tsunami threat, the U.S. National Weather Service said.
In the inland capital San Jose, buildings swayed for a couple of minutes, while local media reported that the quake was strongly felt across much of the country.
"We're very scared. It's been years since we felt such a strong one," said Otto Vargas, a university professor in San Jose.
The earthquake was followed by more than 20 aftershocks throughout the night, the first measuring 5.1 just four minutes after the first quake, OVISCORI reported.
Along the Pacific Coast, in Quepos, south of Jaco electric power lines and poles were downed, although no major damage has been reported.
“When we were trying to get out of the house it started to shake again very strongly,” said Jaco resident Magdalena Lopez, just 10 miles from the earthquake epicenter. “All of our neighbors were in the street. In front of my house, there is an overlook some people started to go up, but it quickly started to shake again.”