May 22, 2009 / 8:07 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Earthquake hits Mexico, no casualties

(Adds details, quotes)

By Julio Martinez

PUEBLA, Mexico, May 22 (Reuters) - A moderate 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked central Mexico on Friday, shaking buildings in the colonial city of Puebla and the capital Mexico City, but there were no reports of casualties or major damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, the second medium-sized tremor to strike Mexico in the last few weeks, hit 35 miles (60 km) south of Puebla at a depth of 60.5 miles (97 km).

“It felt long and intense,” said a spokesman at the Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) plant in Puebla, where 3,000 workers were evacuated from the assembly line. Children were also evacuated from nearly schools.

The magnitude 5.7 quake was strong enough to send office workers and residents fleeing onto the streets in the capital and knock things off shelves and desks.

“My desk jumped and all the photos on it were knocked off. The walls shook. I ran out with my friends,” said Guadalupe Rojas, who works in an 11th floor law office.

There were no reports of serious injuries or damage to buildings in the state of Puebla, known for its old colonial churches, the state’s head of emergency services Miguel Angel Martinez told Reuters.

Helicopters flying over Mexico City, 85 miles (140 km) from the epicenter, also spotted no serious damage to buildings, although residents reported power cuts and stuck elevators.

“We have not identified any major damage,” said Mexico City’s mayor, Marcelo Ebrard.

Residents in Mexico’s teeming capital of around 20 million people are jittery at any sign of a tremor since a devastating 1985 quake killed thousands of people.

“I was really scared because around here earthquakes can hit really hard,” said housewife Alma Rodriguez, 32.

The USGS initially estimated the quake at magnitude 5.6 and Mexican seismologists pegged it at 5.9. (Additional Reporting by Cyntia Barrera, Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Robert Campbell, Jason Lange and Noel Randewich; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Kieran Murray)

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