Minnesotans try to contact relatives in Chile after quakeby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesotans with ties to Chile are working to contact relatives after a major earthquake struck the South American nation overnight.
A huge magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, killing at least 122 people, knocking down homes and hospitals, and triggering a tsunami across the Pacific.
Witnesses reported buildings caught fire, major highway bridges collapsed and wide cracks opened up in streets. A 15-story building collapsed in the city of Concepcion, near the quake's epicenter.
Minneapolis resident Rosa Kittsteiner grew up in Chile and said her aunt in Santiago called her early Saturday morning to say all of the relatives on that side of the family were okay.
"She said that there was a lot of debris and that a lot of things fell down and broke down and that the community - everybody came out and everybody was very supportive of one other," she said. "They all became one"
Kittsteiner is still waiting to hear from other relatives who live near the epicenter of the earthquake. She says it is hard to believe how destructive the it was.
"I can't imagine, but if it did happen that would be just a disaster...there are only so many resources in Chile," Kittsteiner said. "It would be really, really a bad thing."
Chilean officials expect the death toll to rise as emergency crews continue to assess the situation.
Tsunami warnings were posted around the Pacific, including Hawaii, Japan and Russia.