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Honduras earthquake rattles nerves of divers, anglers throughout Caribbean

Turneffe Flats Lodge Picture
When the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean region at 2:24 a.m. today, scuba-diving tourists near the epicenter on the island of Roatan fled from dwellings and those on the island's low-lying west end ran into the hills.

Residents and employees did too.

"Everybody got out of the house instantly, " said PJ Rowntree, owner of Coconut Tree Divers on the small island beyond Honduras, which received the most damage. "Many of them ran off in their night clothes."

The earthquake, centered offshore beyond Honduras, reportedly killed at least two people and toppled more than two dozen homes in Honduras and Belize to the north. It also collapsed a bridge spanning Honduras' largest river, the Ulua. However, in Belize, which also is a diving and fly-fishing paradise, tourist areas seemed to weather the shaking. 

Jake Sinna, general manager of Turneffe Flats resort on a small offshore atoll, said,  "I thought it was a thunderstorm moving in, but when the house shook for about 10 seconds I realized that it must be something else, like an earthquake. After inspection of my surroundings, I quickly turned to others who might be in need of assistance."

Sinna said, "Everything is back to normal" on Turneffe Atoll (pictured) and seemingly throughout Belize City.

In Honduras and remote areas in Belize, however, residents were being urged not to panic. The earthquake, which was felt elsewhere in Central America as well, occurred four months after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake killed dozens of residents and stranded hundreds of tourists in remote areas of Costa Rica.

Thankfully, the Honduras quake, because it was centered offshore, was not so destructive. Outposts will try to update this item later today.

— Pete Thomas

Photo of Turneffe Atoll courtesy of Turneffe Flats resort

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Comments (15)

I was a passenger on the Carnival Valor. We had just left Roatan Island (after snorkeling all day) and were headed to Belize City. It shook the entire ship, loudly, just like our Northern CA earthquakes do and woke everyone up. I didn't know an earthquake could be felt onboard a ship, but this was definitely different and much louder than normal ship's movement. Several passengers reported drawers opening and closing, but Carnival never mentioned it to any of the passengers. In fact, they told one woman that they were "changing generators" at 2:30 am and that caused the shaking.

Our tour guides in Belize, Grumpy and Happy (Loren & Jolene San Pedro, Ambergris Caye) were the ones that told us about their earthquake experience the next day. They were worried about tsunami because they were shaken up pretty good in the middle of the night.

ISPs are having problems, repairing cables and such, so the service is quite unstable right now.

Has there been damage to the internet and phone connections in San Pedro Sula, Honduras? I cannot get ahold of my father, who lives there.

I live and dive in Roatan and for the magnitude of the quake you can hardly see damage. All activities were resumed the very first morning after the quake and Roatan is still standing and as beautiful as it was . People might be a bit shaken up for the sudden and nasty wakeup call but over all life goes on! Reef at least on the North side did not suffer any major damage.
Our condolences to those who lost family members on the mainland!

Three of us just returned from a diving trip to Utila which is about 40 miles west of Roatan. We were awakend by the earthquake at 2:20 AM Thursday morning. Locals ran up to Pumpkin Hill on Utila from local instructions which is the highest place on the small flat island. We went back to bed, got up early and went diving. The internet was down, telephones were down for two days. Had a great time. I was there, don't panic, have a good time and go diving. It is the safest place to be in an earthquake.

It's amazing how little information there is online about Roatan. I still haven't heard from my friend :-(

My Daughter is with a group of Vet Students from University of Auburn they are on the Northern coast and are scheduled to spend their last three days in Honduras on Utila. What is the condition of the hotels or lodges?


Have there been any reports of damage on Roatan? I have a dear friend who lives there and I haven't heard from her yet. Thanks.

Yes even here at Benque Viejo (Belize) we felt it at first i thought i was dreaming but then i herd my stuff falling into the floor some glasses broke and fell how the bed shook it was really scared it creeped me out

Ha! I live in the city of La-Ceiba, and let me say....it was horrifying! At first I thought it was a thief...then I started screaming because my bed was shaking! I screamed and screamed for my housemates (I live in a boarding house) to get out, when i saw that no one was coming, i ran to their doors and knocked...that's when everyone started getting out. This lasted for about 12seconds? It felt like eternity!

Thankfully, no one in the home or neighborhood was injured. Our guard said the homes rattled like a toy swing in a park!

Back at my parents home, Utila..about 16miles away from Roatan, EVERYTHING broke. My kitties even peed and pooped on themselves!!!!

my family lives on utila bay islands,and my baby is out there visiting his grandparents.I was so scared, cause my motherin law said it was the worst earthquake theve ever felt.

I wonder if it could have been related to the N. Korea nuclear test? I've heard those can cause earthquakes by shifting tectonic plates. Food for thought.

Here at Caye Caulker (La Isla Carinosa) Belize, the entire island felt the sake.

They were luck


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