Puerto Rican natural wonder, Punta Ventana, collapses amid 5.8 magnitude earthquake
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San Juan, Puerto Rico
One of Puerto Rico’s iconic natural wonders — a soaring stone arch along the southern coast known as Punta Ventana or Window Point — collapsed early Monday as a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the island.
Denniza Colon, a 22-year-old resident of Guayanilla, said she went by the area Monday morning and was shocked to find the arch, a place that she visited frequently as a child, had simply vanished.
Monday’s tremor was the largest yet, striking at 6:32 a.m. local time and knocking several homes off their foundations and causing rockslides along some roads. Puerto Rico’s Energy Authority said two substations, in Guánica and Yauco, had been affected and power was out in some areas of the island. However, there were no immediate reports of injuries or casualties.
“This is one of the strongest quakes to date since it started shaking on Dec. 28,” Angel Vazquez, the emergency management director for the southern coastal city of Ponce, told The Associated Press. “It lasted a long time.”
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a series of more than 15 smaller earthquakes and aftershocks in the waters off southeastern Puerto Rico Monday, as the island was celebrating Three Kings Day and government offices and most businesses were closed.
Gov. Wanda Vázquez spent the day touring damaged areas and meeting with emergency staff. The government has postponed the reopening of public schools until Jan. 13 so that educational facilities can be inspected for damage.
Vázquez said Florida Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican, had been in contact and had offered help if needed.