A POWERFUL 7.6-magnitude earthquake has struck Costa Rica's Pacific coast, killing two people, briefly knocking out power and phone lines, and triggering tsunami warnings.
Residents reported trees toppled, rooftops damaged and roads split by the quake near the epicenter in the coastal province of Guanacaste. People rushed into the streets 150km away in the capital San Jose.
A Red Cross spokesman said a man and a woman died after suffering heart attacks in the town of Filadelfia, not far from Nicoya, which is roughly 10km from the epicentre."Here in Nicoya, fortunately we have only seen very minor injuries, people with minor cuts - nothing significant given the magnitude of the storm," said the spokesman, Adolfo Saenz.Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said: "The most important thing is to remain calm, there is no major damage."The US Geological Survey said the quake, which struck off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica at a depth of about 40km, measured 7.9 on the Moment Magnitude Scale.A tsunami warning was issued for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, but later cancelled, the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Initially, the warning had extended from Mexico to Peru."We felt it very strongly, and ran, afraid that the house was going to come down. People are very alarmed," a Nicoya resident told a local radio station.Still, Nicaragua's weather service director Javier Mejia told local media there had been reports of the sea pulling away from the coast in San del Sur, and that high waves could hit that coastal region later in the day.