9 Sep 2017

'Holy moley, this is scary'

1:42 pm on 9 September 2017

A New Zealander living in Mexico has described clinging to his doorway, while an 8.1 magnitude earthquake rolled and rumbled on for over a minute.

The 8.1-magnitude quake caused widespread damage, including in the eastern part of Mexico City

The 8.1-magnitude quake caused widespread damage, including in the eastern part of Mexico City Photo: AFP

The earthquake, described as the strongest to hit Mexico in 100 years, has killed at least 60 people caused widespread damage in the states of Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

In Mexico City, more than 1000 kilometres from the quake's epicentre, thousands fled into the streets as buildings swayed violently.

Jai Krishnan

Jai Krishnan Photo: Supplied / Jai Krishnan

Jai Krishnan, who grew up in Wellington, moved to Mexico four years ago and has been living in the capital for a year.

He said he was in bed when a loud siren went off, then the earthquake hit.

He had never experienced anything like it, he said.

"We used to get them in Ngaio in Wellington, where I grew up, you could literally hear earthquakes coming from Mount Kaukau rumbling down the street, so you get up, stand in the doorway, wait for them to pass and sit back down and watch TV.

"But here it was wild, it's definitely the strongest earthquake I've ever felt in my life and it just went on for such a long time, definitely over a minute and it sort of just rolled and rumbled," he said.

"About halfway through it, I thought, 'Holy moley, this is scary, we're going to be in serious trouble here if it gets any harder.'"

Mr Krishnan said he, his partner and his daughter clung on as the quake kept going.

"We stood in the doorway and as it got worse we got our daughter out of bed and stood in the doorway with her, we were all shaking and by the time it had finished the adrenaline running through our bodies was incredible."

The earthquake resulted in minor cosmetic damage to his apartment, with cracks in the ceiling and plaster coming off walls.

He said many people in his neighbourhood fled their homes.

"Growing up in New Zealand, we were told to get under a table or stand in a doorframe, but here a lot of people were runnning into the streets, getting away from their buildings, and people were standing outside on the street in their pajamas with no shoes."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there were 103 New Zealanders registered as being in Mexico, but so far none have sought consular assistance.

It said the New Zealand Embassy in Mexico City was monitoring the situation closely.