POSTED: Friday, March 11, 2011 - 4:11am
UPDATED: Friday, March 11, 2011 - 7:31am
TOKYO (AP) - Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency says at least 60 people have died and 56 are missing in the quake and tsunami that hit the north. The quake unleashed a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by Friday's quake are burning out of control up
and down the coast, including one at an oil refinery. It struck at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by more than 20 aftershocks, including several at least 6.3, the size of the quake that struck New Zealand recently.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s.
A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo and was burning out of control with 100-foot (30 meter) -high flames whipping into the sky.
In northeastern Japan's Miyagi prefecture, a fire broke out in a turbine building of a nuclear power plant. Smoke was observed coming out of the building, which is separate from the plant's reactor, and the cause is under investigation, said Tohoku Electric Power Co. the company said.
A tsunami warning was extended to a number of Pacific, Southeast Asian and Latin American nations, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities said they expect a 3-foot (1-meter) high tsunami.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.