By Tom Z. Spencer and Miranda Wilder

Staff Writers

Amy Simon, a UNH student studying abroad in Santiago, marked herself safe via Facebook at 1:09 a.m. EST on Sept. 17 after an earthquake struck offshore near Chile on Wednesday night.

Simon told TNH staff “everything is fine” over instant message last night.

“I for the most part kept calm, but was nervous especially when glass started breaking,” Simon said.

According to the AP, five people have been reported killed, and one listed missing due to the quake as of early Thursday.

Simon was sitting on her bed doing homework in Santiago, and dismissed the initial rumble as the type of wind gusts to which she was accustomed at her house in Durham, New Hampshire.

After realizing it was a developing earthquake, Simon left her room to stand in the doorway of her apartment with her host mother and sister.

Simon described the experience as a “forceful sway” throughout the buildings. She described her host family and surrounding people as “anxious, but not worried.” 

The earthquake registered a preliminary magnitude of 8.3, and made buildings sway across Santiago, according to The Associated Press. Simon said the quake reached an estimated high of 7.9 near her location. 

Simon is a senior dual major in Latin American studies and philosophy, and she minors in Spanish. She chose Chile because it was an affordable option for studying abroad, and because the poetry and literature are important to the culture.

Simon said most of the houses in Santiago are required to be built with materials to withstand a 9.0 quake.   

A recent photo of Amy Simon.

A recent photo of Amy Simon.