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Puerto Rico’s iconic Punta Ventana collapses after earthquake: ‘This is really sad’

Click to play video '5.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Puerto Rico, damages multiple homes' 5.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Puerto Rico, damages multiple homes
A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Puerto Rico on Monday morning. – Jan 6, 2020

Puerto Rico‘s natural wonder Punta Ventana collapsed after the country was hit by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday.

The iconic spot in Guayanilla is a popular destination for travellers, given the natural rock formation was a near-perfect circle like a window, giving it its Window Point name.

After the earthquake, all that’s left are the rock formation’s side arches.

Denniza Colon, a 22-year-old woman from the area, told the Miami Herald that she took a walk by the spot on Monday morning and saw the arch had vanished.

READ MORE: Puerto Rico hit by 6.4 magnitude earthquake amid heavy seismic activity

It was a place she visited all the time as a child, she added.

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“This is really sad,” she said. “It was one of the biggest tourism draws of Guayanilla.”

The site was first damaged on Jan. 3. Glidden Lopez, a spokesperson for Guayanilla municipality, wrote on Facebook that day that a piece of the arch had broken off, which changed the window shape.

He wrote later on Facebook: “The window beach collapsed. Today our icon remains in the memory of all.”

A natural formation known as “Punta Ventana,” or Window Point, stands without the bridge that once created the formation of the window, or a hole, in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The natural bridge collapsed during the morning’s earthquake. (AP Photo/Jorge A. Ramirez Portela).

A series of earthquakes starting hitting the country of 3.2 million people on Dec. 28.

Monday morning’s disaster caused several homes to fall off their foundations, as well as rockslides on some roads. Power has gone out in certain areas, too.

“This is one of the strongest quakes to date since it started shaking on Dec. 28,” Angel Vazquez, the emergency management director for the southern coastal city of Ponce, told The Associated Press. “It lasted a long time.”

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On Tuesday, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit before dawn, followed by an aftershock measuring at 6.0, the AP reported.

READ MORE: Puerto Rico hit with 5.8 magnitude earthquake, damage reported

They are the largest in a series of quakes that have struck the U.S. territory in recent days and caused heavy damage in some areas.

At least one person was known to have died. Teacher Rey Gonzalez told the AP that his uncle was killed when a wall collapsed on him at the home they shared.

He said Nelson Martinez, 73, was disabled and that he and his father cared for him.

Eight people were injured in the city of Ponce, near the epicentre of the quake, Mayor Mayita Melendez told WAPA television.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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