Quake kills 22 in Mexican holiday resorts

The strongest earthquake since the 1985 disaster hit Mexico yesterday, killing at least 22 people. At least one hotel, a school, a prison and a church collapsed in or near the Pacific tourist resort of Manzanillo.

The resort of Puerto Vallarta was also hard hit although the number of casualties was not clear. Hotels such as the Sheraton and the Regina were reported damaged but did not collapse. The Radio Red station said three tourists were injured when they jumped from the third floor of the Sheraton in panic, thinking it was about to fall down. At another beach hotel, 18 people were trapped in rubble, the station said.

Officials said the death toll could rise. Roads to Manzanillo, 325 miles west of Mexico City, and the badly-hit nearby town of Cihuatlan were cut off. Radio reports said rescue workers were digging through the rubble of the 12-storey Hotel Real in Manzanillo, where several people were believed to be trapped.

Office workers and housewives ran in terror from buildings in Mexico City, where a quake killed at least 6,000 people 10 years ago last month, and where residents have remained nervous of further tremors. Trading at the capital's Bolsa (stock exchange) on the main Reforma Avenue was interrupted for 40 minutes after workers ran to what they considered the safety of the street.

Aurera Villa, a secretary in a nearby office building said: "It was horrible, horrible. I just went running down the stairwell." She added she was still shaky from the last quake to hit the city which, on 14 September, killed five people.

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