Costa Rica escaped serious damage during a powerful earthquake
A powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake shook Costa Rica and neighbouring countries, sending panicked people into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami alert, but causing little damage. Authorities reported one confirmed death.
"When we felt the earthquake, we held onto each other because we kept falling," said Rosa Pichardo, 45, who was walking on the beach in the town of Samara with her family when the quake hit.
"I've never felt anything like this. We just couldn't stay standing. My feet gave out under me. It was terrible, terrible," she said.
Officials said the quake collapsed some houses and at least one bridge and caused landslides that blocked roads.
But Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla said there were no reports of major damage and called for calm.
Residents described being shocked by the force of the quake, which was felt as far away as Panama and Nicaragua and was the biggest since a 7.6-magnitude quake in 1991 left 47 people dead.