SAN JOSE, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- At least three people were killed in a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that jolted the western coast of Costa Rica on Wednesday.
Two women were frightened to death due to heart attack when the earthquake broke out around 8:30 a.m. local time (1430 GMT), while the third victim, a man, was crushed when a building under construction collapsed, local media said.
At least 30 people were injured in the earthquake that caused slight to moderate damage to buildings in the disaster area and was followed by about 60 aftershocks.
In San Jose, the quake shook buildings and sent residents fleeing to the streets. Connections via mobile phones and regular phones were disrupted. Electricity cut-off has been reported in the capital.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake was measured at 7.6 on the Richter scale. Costa Rica's volcanic and seismic observation agency first put the tremor at 6.7, but lifted it to 7.6 later.
The quake was centered about 8 km northeast of Samara, Costa Rica, and 151 km west of San Jose, the capital, said the USGS.
In Samara, the epicenter, a clerk said in an interview that the damage was not serious, but residents were in a state of panic. Xinhua photographers witnessed broken water pipes in Samara and cracks in the road connecting San Jose with the epicenter area.
Casualties were also reported in neighboring countries. Three women died in Nicaragua Wednesday after their boat capsized from a large wave caused by the quake.
Nicaraguan Red Cross said that the three young women were sailing along the La Cruz del Rio Tasbapoune route in south Atlantic waters.
Pedro Olivas, regional Naval Chief in south Atlantic, said authorities were investigating the site of the accident.
A tsunami warning was initially issued after the quake, but it was later canceled.
Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla and her Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega urged residents affected by the quake to stay calm.
Nicaragua's Disaster Prevention System chief Guillermo Gonzalez said so far they had received no other reports of victims.
Nicaragua's Civil Defense deployed a team of at least 2,000 emergency workers along the country's Pacific coast to evacuate thousands of people in case of a tsunami, which did not occur.
Schools in Nicaragua's Pacific areas have suspended classes. In Managua, capital of the Central American country, some children were picked up by their parents although there was no order for class suspension.
The earthquake was also felt in Panama, where it triggered preventive seismic alarms.