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Major earthquake hits Costa Rica

Rodrigo Arangua / AFP - Getty Images

Patients of the Hospital Calderon Guardia in San Jose are evacuated after a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica on Sept. 5. briefly knocking out power and communications and triggering tsunami warnings.

Juan Carlos Ulate / Reuters

People gather in front of the Supreme Court, after being evacuated from their buildings following an earthquake in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sept. 5.. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Costa Rica according to the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Red Cross / Handout / EPA

A handout picture provided by the Red Cross on Sept. 5 shows damage on the church in Nandayure, Costa Rica, near the epicenter of the earthquake of magnitude 6.7 on the Richter scale that rocked Costa Rica at 08.42 local time (1442 GMT). A strong earthquake off the west coast of Costa Rica has prompted a tsunami warning, US officials said. The US Geological Survey later downgraded the strength of the earthquake to 7.6 magnitude from an earlier estimate of 7.9. The quake occurred at 1442 GMT about eight kilometres north-east of Samara and 151 kilometres west of the capital San Jose. No one was immediately reported injured, the Red Cross said, and damage caused by the quake in Costa Rica was believed to be relatively minor.

Updated at 4.41 a.m. ET, Thursday

NBC News reports — At least 20 people were injured Wednesday when a major earthquake hit northwestern Costa Rica, authorities said. The Red Cross said those numbers could rise as damage assessment teams reached more areas.

Reports earlier in the day said three people had died -- two from heart attacks -- but Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said the deaths were not caused by the quake. Read the full story.

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