Hundreds of inmates flee Peru prison after quake

August 18, 2007 04:40
Hundreds of inmates flee Peru prison after quake

Peru quake 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

As thousands of terrified Peruvians ran from falling buildings during a deadly earthquake, nearly 700 inmates took advantage of a collapsed prison wall to run to freedom. Wednesday's 8.0-magnitude temblor that devastated Peru's southern coast caused chaos inside the Tambo de Mora Prison on the outskirts of Chincha, just 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the epicenter, police Lt. Jorge Soto said Friday. Built on the sandy soil of Peru's coastal desert, the lockup sank during the powerful quake and was severely damaged by a phenomenon called liquefaction, in which the prolonged shaking transforms loose, water-saturated sediments into a liquid slurry. "Tsunami, tsunami!" the inmates shouted mistakenly as almost 2 feet (0.6 meters) of muddy water rushed into their cells, said Soto, who works at the prison. Ceiling lights came crashing down, prison doors swung open, and the wall surrounding the prison crumbled.

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