A magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit Mexico on the same date as two devastating quakes in 1985 and 2017, in what scientists say was pure coincidence.

At least two people were killed after the earthquake struck shortly after 1 p.m. local time on Monday September 19 in the west of the country.

It damaged buildings, knocked out electricity and sent residents of the capital, Mexico City, rushing outside to safety.

The epicenter was in a sparsely populated part of Mexico, about 90 km (56 miles) from Tecoman in Colima, near the Pacific coast and about 400 km (250 miles) from Mexico City.

Scientists said the date was just a coincidence

It was relatively shallow – only 15 km (nine miles) deep – which would have amplified its impact.

Laura Velazquez, director of Mexicocivil protection agency, said the two deaths were due to the partial collapse of buildings.

One of the victims was crushed by the front of a department store in Manzanillo and the other was found dead in a shopping mall in the same port city in Colima state.

Ten other people were injured – nine in Colima and one in neighboring Michoacan.

There have been at least 692 aftershocks recorded since the quake, the strongest being a magnitude of 5.8 on Tuesday morning.

Another earthquake hit Mexico on September 19.  Photo: Reuters

Scientists said the three earthquakes that struck on the same date are a “coincidence”.

US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said: “There is no physical reason or statistical bias in favor of earthquakes in any given month in Mexico.”

Seismology researcher Xyoli Perez-Campos said, “Plates break when it’s their time to break. What are they going to know about timing?”

However, other people think the date is more than a coincidence.

“It feels like a curse,” said Isa Montes, a 34-year-old graphic designer.

Jorge Ornelas, call center coordinator, said: “It’s really strange, but a lot of people don’t like that day already.”

He said many people he knows are starting to worry about an earthquake in September.

“If we keep thinking that every September 19 it’s going to shake, it’s going to keep happening every year, because what you think is always what happens,” the 35-year-old added.

Security forces ride in a vehicle near a shopping center damaged after an earthquake Monday, in Coalcoman, Michoacan, Mexico.  Photo: Reuters
Security forces near a shopping center damaged after Monday’s earthquake

Read more: Why are there so many earthquakes in Mexico?

In 1985, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City, killing 9,500 people in the center, south and west of the country.

Hundreds of buildings collapsed and the event is believed to have caused at least $3bn (£2.6bn) in damage.

In 2017, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake killed more than 350 people in the city of Puebla, in central Mexico, which also saw more than 40 buildings collapse.

Mexico sits on top of five tectonic plates, which makes it prone to earthquakes.

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