Magnitude-7.8 earthquake hits Ecuador; at least 28 dead

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ECUADOR – At least 28 people have died in a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that was centered near the coast of Ecuador, the country’s vice president, Jorge Glas, told the nation in a televised address. Glas said a state of emergency was now in effect and added that preventative evacuations in coastal areas were underway because of possible tsunami risks.

A tsunami threat warning for many nations in the Pacific that followed the quake has been canceled, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. The forecast for some coastal areas of Ecuador still calls for the possibility of tsunami waves.

In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city, emergency personnel recovered one body from the scene of a bridge collapse, a police officer told reporters with Ecuadorian TV stations.

Elsewhere in the city of 2 million people, shoppers were shaken by the quake. Video from a store showed kitchen utensils and pans hanging from an end cap swinging slightly back and forth and some items falling off shelves.

The lights in the store go out and alarms go off.

The shaking appears to last less than a minute.

A resident of the city told his brother, a CNN employee, that there is damage to some buildings and many areas have lost power.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the tremor was centered about 27 kilometers (16.8 miles) south-southeast of Muisne.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in the capital of Quito, located 173 kilometers (108 miles) from the epicenter of the earthquake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued threat forecasts for many Pacific Ocean countries. It said waves reaching some parts of Ecuador could reach 1 meter (3 feet) above tide level.

Tsunami waves less than .3 meters (1 foot) above tide level could hit places as far away as Australia, the Hawaiian Islands and Taiwan, it said.

A magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck Ecuador in August 2010.