A strong earthquake off the coast of Guatemala killed at least 48 people and trapped others under rubble on Wednesday, crushing homes and cars, destroying roads and forcing evacuations as far away as Mexico City.
Most of the dead were buried under debris in San Marcos state, a mountainous region near the Mexican border. Landslides triggered by the 7.4-magnitude quake blocked highways and complicated rescue efforts.
It was the strongest earthquake to hit the Central American nation since 1976, when a 7.5-magnitude quake killed more than 20,000 people.
President Otto Perez, who confirmed the death toll after returning to the capital Guatemala City from a lightning trip to San Marcos, said that as many as 23 people were unaccounted for, while 153 people were being housed in emergency shelters, Reuters reported.