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Plymouth Woman Waits For News On Loved Ones After Powerful Quake Hits Coast Of Chile

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L) Patricio Palma Ugarte with his daughter. (Family photo)

L) Patricio Palma Ugarte with his daughter. (Family photo)

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CHILE (WWJ) – A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off Chile’s northern coast Tuesday night, causing landslides and setting off a small tsunami that forced an evacuation of coastal areas.

In the city of Arica, the mayor reported some minor injuries and said some homes made of adobe were destroyed. The quake shook modern buildings in nearby Peru and in Bolivia’s high altitude capital of La Paz.

Locally, after hours of trying to reach her brother, one Plymouth woman has made contact with her loved one in Chile. But as WWJ’s Kathryn Larson reports — the rest of the family is missing.

Alicia Van Pelt’s brother Patricio is a photographer and he lives in Arica, which is in the northern most part of Chile.

Van Pelt said she has made contact with her brother, and while he is alright, his wife, a reporter, and his 3-year-old daughter are missing:

“I just hope that everything – everybody finds each other because once you are together you feel a little less bad,” said Van Pelt.

Van Pelt’s brother has a flashlight, water, and his cell phone but he is currently in the process of escaping the tsunami alert area.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0, but later upgraded the magnitude. It said the quake struck 61 miles northwest of the Chilean city of Iquique at 8:46 p.m., hitting a region that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks.

The quake was so strong that the shaking experienced in Bolivia’s capital about 290 miles away was the equivalent of a 4.5-magnitude tremor, authorities there said.

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