6.2 Quake kill eight in Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) - Officials restored electricity and phone service and cleared fallen branches and trees from cracked roads and highways yesterday, after an earthquake rocked nearly all of Costa Rica and killed eight people, seven of whom were frightened into heart attacks.

The 6.2-tremor struck at 2:07 am Saturday, shaking presidents and prime ministers who were attending a summit in the capital, San Jose, from their beds.

No one involved with the international meeting was injured, and most of its participants headed home after the summit's conclusion Saturday evening. Police and emergency officials said life had returned to normal in nearly all of the country yesterday.

The quake lasted about 40 seconds and was centred 30 miles (50 kilometres) south-southwest of San Jose. Some 526 homes were damaged or destroyed nationwide, but those left homeless had been relocated to a small number of government shelters.

Highways buckled and several homes and buildings gave way in the hardest-hit area, Quepos, located close to the epicentre. But Transportation Secretary Randall Vargas said cleanup and repair had already begun there and would be completed in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, a strong, early morning earthquake rocked the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe yesterday, killing at least one man and destroying more than a half dozen homes.

A man died in Guadeloupe when his home collapsed in the southern coastal town of Trois-Rivieres, private Radio Caraibes reported.

A woman and two children were able to escape from the home with minor injuries. One of the children was hospitalised.

The temblor had a preliminary magnitude of 6.0, said John Minsch, a seismologist at the US National Earthquake Information Service. The initial quake was followed by several tremors, including two with a 4.9 magnitude.


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