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Honduras earthquake leaves six dead

  • Story Highlights
  • Eighty homes destroyed, another 175 damaged, official says
  • Original quake centered about 200 miles (320 km) north of the capital, USGS says
  • Quake centered 27 miles (43 km) from Roatan, popular scuba diving destination
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(CNN) -- At least six people were killed Thursday when a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Honduras, President Jose Manuel Zelaya told CNN en Español Thursday.

Thursday's quake leaves part of a bridge damaged over the Ulua River in El Progreso, Honduras.

Thursday's quake leaves part of a bridge damaged over the Ulua River in El Progreso, Honduras.

Another 17 people were injured, said Jose Reyes, a spokesman for COPECO, the Honduran government agency that responds to natural disasters. Two of the victims -- a 15-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl from Morazan -- died after a wall collapsed on them, Reyes said, adding that trauma was blamed for most of the fatalities.

A 9-year-old boy died, and a heart attack proved fatal to a man from Tela, Honduras, the agency said. A woman suffered cardiac arrest.

The 15-year-old boy's brother suffered minor injuries, said Dilcia Fernandez, mayor of La Lima, where the boy died. La Lima is about 120 miles (200 km) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Eighty homes were destroyed and another 175 damaged, including 16 schools, nine churches, eight public buildings, seven factories, three bridges, two hotels, a hospital, an airport and a potable water system, Reyes said. Video Watch how the quake damaged a bridge »

The 7.1-magnitude quake, which struck at 3:24 a.m. and was centered about 200 miles (320 km) north of the capital, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Half an hour later, a 4.8-magnitude aftershock hit about 155 miles (250 km) north of Tegucigalpa.

Zelaya said the June 2-3 meeting of the Organization of American States will be held as planned in nearby San Pedro Sula, where he said one building had been damaged by the quake.

The earthquake was centered, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, 27 miles (43 km) from Roatan, the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands and a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling.

The area -- known for its white-sand beaches, clear waters and rich ocean reef -- is popular among budget-conscious travelers.

"People were startled. They started walking, running, doing everything they could to get to higher ground about two miles away," said Ron Cummins, who owns a resort there.

"I have been on the island for 14 years, this is the worst I have seen." Did you feel the quake? Share photos, video

Ressie Bodden Saphrey said she was sleeping when her house started shaking.

"There was dark everywhere," said Saphrey, who works at a hotel in Roatan. Dishes and bottles crashed to the floor, she said.

She and her 19-year-old daughter packed their passports, medicine, bottled water, canned food and a flashlight in case they were told to evacuate.

They stayed inside their concrete three-story house, though many people in Roatan wandered the streets in the darkness, she said.

A television station in Honduras, Channel 8, reported damage to several buildings.

The Honduras disaster-response agency urged people to safeguard any important documents, and store food and water they could take in a hurry, according to Channel 8.

Carol Frazier, who was vacationing in Roatan, said the quake knocked out power in her condominium and spilled water from the swimming pool.

"Everything was moving. The TV fell on the ground," she said. "The difficulty was we couldn't even move.

"I really thought it was a tsunami or something. That was really our first concern," she said. "We ran out."


Ron Bobbette, who manages a hotel in West End Roatan, said power had been restored in most places and panic was subsiding.

"Everything is back to normal," Bobbette said. "I just finished walking around the hotel and there is no visible structural damage."

CNN's Mark Bixler, Faith Karimi and Tom Watkins contributed to this report.

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