AS NEWS of an 8.2-magnitude off Chile’s coast reached Australian shores, Bega man Daniel Boyle was also back on home soil.
Mr Boyle has lived in Santiago, Chile’s capital, for the past two-and-a-half years and is married to a Chilean woman.
He said while he is attending a conference in Sydney this week, his wife and newborn child are still at home, but that Santiago is a long way from the earthquake’s epicentre and far enough inland so tsunami warnings aren’t a concern.
“The earthquake hit up in the north, near Arica and Iquique, the two northern-most cities,” Mr Boyle said.
“Santiago is two hours from the beach and near mountains so it will be fine.
“The evacuation warning is for the whole coast though and schools are closed right down south, which is about 3000km from where the quake hit.”
Mr Boyle said he has friends in Arica, but hadn’t heard much from that area since the news broke.
He said there didn’t appear to be much in the way of damage on land, but he had heard of several deaths - apparently from heart attacks as a result of the quake.
Mr Boyle said he thought while the earthquake is “a big one” and tsunami warnings warranted, he felt perhaps the new government was probably being “overly careful”.
“The big problem with the previous big earthquake in 2010 was the president, who is president again, said publicly there would be no tsunami and there was.
“So now I’d say they are being overly careful.
“But it is a big one and the warnings should be done.
“Hopefully there won’t be too much damage this time.”
Mr Boyle said an earthquake of this magnitude could be among the top 10 of all time for Chile.
“Before now, the biggest one since I moved there was a 7,” he said.
“But we get magnitude 5 or 6 quite regularly – a lot of times there is no damage and people just go on about their business.”
Mr Boyle is an Australian footbag champion who moved to Chile to teach children English through sport.
He also spent time as editor of the “I Love Chile” magazine, but now focuses more on his own project, startup company and blog Sport/Life.