Gympie locals caught up in Mexican earthquake
TAPACHULA in Mexico is nearly 13,000 km away from Gympie, but for the family of mission worker Pamela Skuse the shocks of the recent powerful earthquake were easily felt.
Pamela's niece Jacqui Martin has told the Gympie Times just how close a call it was for her aunt.
"She helps run an orphanage with my uncle Alan, and there are often between 45 and 55 children there at any one time," she said.
"Beyond the normal refuge she helps run, there's also a program for surfing with the kids - which is where she was when the quake hit."
Being near the ocean when an earthquake strikes would be terrifying enough with the possibility of a tsunami.
But what's even scarier was how Tapachula was so dangerously close to the epicentre of the deadly 8.1 quake, the strongest seen in Mexico for decades.
"They were maybe just over 100km away from the epicentre, which is incredibly close," Ms Martin said.
"It was absolutely a sleepless night for her, but the immediate danger seems to have passed."
Even without the tsunami, the power of the quake and the rough seas that followed have clearly demonstrated the forces at play.
A retaining wall separating the refuge from the ocean has partly crumbled into the water, but the buildings themselves have remained relatively unscathed.
"It was purely from the rough seas," Ms Martin said.
"But I think that went a long way in buffering any further damage inland."
Alan Skuse, Pamela's husband, is actually back in Australia visiting family.
And despite a tense start to the day, things have calmed down considerably.
The same can't be said for Mexico itself, with many regional areas reeling after the disaster.
At the time of writing, at least 61 people have already been killed, including 12 in the state of Chiapas - were Tapachula is located.
At least 20 aftershocks of a magnitude 4.0 or greater were recorded in the aftermath of the first tremor.