November 7, 2015 / 3:56 PM / in 2 years

Magnitude 5.3 quake jolts Venezuela's west, one dead in rockfall

CARACAS (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck mountainous western Venezuela in the early hours of Saturday, knocking out power in some areas, damaging some buildings and triggering rockfalls that killed one man, authorities said.

The quake’s epicenter was about 27 km (17 miles) from the city of Merida near the Colombian border, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It struck at 02:28 a.m. (06:58 a.m. GMT).

Some 12 aftershocks hit the area on Saturday morning, authorities added.

“We lament the death of Edgardo Salas, a state government employee, following a rock collapse due to the quake,” Merida Governor Alexis Ramirez said on Twitter, adding that four other people traveling in the car were unharmed.

Power was knocked out in certain parts and tunnels were shut in the mountainous area as a preventative measure, Merida’s mayor added on Twitter.

A church and cemetery in the town of Chiguara suffered structural damage, authorities said.

Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Gareth Jones

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