Quake of 7.1 magnitude strikes off Honduras

A powerful earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck northeast of Roatan in Honduras early on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake that hit 39 miles northeast of Roatan, Islas de la Bahia, had a shallow depth of 6.2 miles. It struck at latitude 16.783 and longitude 86.166, USGS said.

A tsunami watch was in effect for Honduras and Belize, Guatemala, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. “There is a possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts located usually no more than 100 kilometers from the earthquake epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on its Web site.

There are at least five confirmed deaths reported in Honduras and there is heavy damage to the Democracy Bridge in El Progresso. There are also, reports of major structural damage to buildings in San Pedro Sula.

In Belize, at least three homes have been destroyed and a water tower collapsed in Indepence Village down South. Roads are cracked and sink holes are appearing all over Belize and it's outlaying islands.

There are now reports coming in from Roatan of major structural damage to many structures and three unconfirmed reports of deaths.

The quake was originally reported to have a 7.4 magnitude.

UPDATE - MAY 29th, 2009

Two more earthquakes have occurred in Honduras as of this morning. One inland south of the port town La Ceiba another west of Utila island in the Caribbean Sea. The quakes were a magnitude of 4.8 and 4.6 respectively.

The major earthquake from the day before has now been upgraded to a 7.3 magnitude earthquake.