Helicopter assessing Mexico quake damage crashes, 13 killed

The earthquake struck Oaxaca Mexico as seen in the U.S. Geological Survey map above

A U.S. Geological Survey expert says Friday's magnitude 7.2 natural disaster in southern Mexico was not in the aftershock zone from an even more powerful 8.2 quake last September 8.

Fifty homes in nearby Santiago Jamiltepec suffered major damage in the quake, as did the city hall and main church, said the Interior Department in a statement. The national electricity commission said almost 1 million users lost power, but it was expected to be restored over the course of the day.

The helicopter, which was carrying Mexico's interior minister and the state governor, crashed on top of two vans in an open field while trying to land at night in Santiago Jamiltepec after a tour of damage from Friday's powerful quake. It was also felt in the states of Guerrero, Puebla and Michoacan.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Friday's second tremor was centered near the earlier quake in Mexico's Oaxaca state.

"We're stressed out, we have flashbacks".

The 13 who were killed were all on the ground, spokeswoman Lizbeth Hernandez Bravo said.

"Is it ever going to stop?" she said.

No buildings collapsed, according to early reports.

The quake last September 8 came just 11 days before a magnitude 7.1 tremor in central Mexico caused more than 300 fatalities and significant damage in the Mexico City area. "It was the longest staircase in the world", she told AFP. Similar scenes played out in Veracruz.

"Obviously people are afraid", said the emergency response chief for the city of Puebla, Gustavo Ariza.

But the magnitude 5.8 aftershock that struck Friday about an hour after the 7.2-magnitude quake led some residents of Jamiltepec to decide to spend the night outdoors, a common practice after strong shakes in the balmy region.

The National Emergency Committee has informed that there are no dead people due to the natural disaster. "We start crying whenever the (earthquake) alarm goes off", 38-year-old publicist Kevin Valladolid told AFP through tears after fleeing his building in La Roma, in central Mexico City.

Mexico sits at a spot where five tectonic plates come together, making it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.

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