Earthquake kills at least 6 in Colombia (Roundup)
May 25, 2008, 2:36 GMT
Bogota - A 5.5 magnitude earthquake killed at least six people and injured 17 in Colombia on Saturday, officials in Bogota said.
The victims were killed by falling rocks and landslides that hit their vehicles on the road from Bogota to Villavicencio, the capital of Meta province.
In Bogota and other cities, the earthquake caused residents to panic. The earthquake, with an epicentre some 55 kilometres south- east of Bogota, occurred at a relatively shallow depth of about 4 kilometres, making its effects more easily felt, authorities said.
About 40 buildings collapsed near the epicentre.
In Bogota, two buildings caught fire. Other structures suffered cracks and telephone service was interrupted, Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said.
President Alvaro Uribe was surprised by the quake at a meeting in the city of Florida in the south-western Valle del Cauca province, and the gathering was interrupted, reports said.
Colombia lies in a region prone to earthquakes, where the Nazca plate and the South American plate come together. In 1999, 1,200 people died in a quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale.