The quake struck about 60 kilometres from the town of Liberia. The magnitude initially was estimated at 7.9. In the town of Hojancha near the epicenter, city official Kenia Campos said the quake knocked down some houses and landslides blocked several roads.
“So far, we don’t have victims,” she said. “People were really scared ... We have had moderate quakes but an earthquake (this strong) hasn’t happened in more than 50 years.” There were no initial reports of damage or deaths in the capital of San Jose.
However, officials were having problem accessing the earthquake zone or reaching people there and were flying over the area to assess damage to highways and other structures.
A tsunami warning was in effect for Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin. It said it was unknown if a tsunami was generated, but the warning was based on the size of the earthquake.