The death toll from the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico was expected to climb Friday as rescue crews searched through the ruins of collapsed buildings in the coastal areas closest to the epicenter.

As of Friday evening, the National Emergency Committee said 58 had died in the earthquake, according to Mexico's civil defense chief Luis Felipe Puente.

Hardest hit were southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, but tremors from the temblor that hit just before 1 a.m. ET were felt 460 miles away in Mexico City. Thousands of pajama-clad residents fled into the streets to escape their shaking houses.

 Massive earthquake off Mexico's southern coast kills at least 5 1:36

This quake, which prompted warnings of possible tsunami waves up to 10 feet high, was stronger than the 1985 tremor that killed more than 5,000 people in Mexico's capital, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said.

But with an epicenter 40 miles off the country's coast, the first reports were that Mexico City had largely been spared.  Click Here for More Coverage.

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