The notion of coincidences comes to mind after an incident that occurred yesterday in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Approximately 43,000 people in Tuxtla Gutierrez participated in a "mega-drill" in order to prepare for an earthquake of 7.9 magnitude. The simulation tested the reaction of numerous local government agencies to a major tremor, mobilized rescue workers and emergency services and gave the chance for citizens to practice how to calmly evacuate.
As the following video from a local Chiapas news channel shows, the drill was an apparent success:
The earthquake preparedness exercises in Chiapas began at noon, three minutes before a real tremor struck in nearby Guerrero state. The quake, which measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, caused residents in parts of Mexico City to flee from buildings and was also felt in Guatemala.
The near identical timing of the drill and the earthquake did not go unnoticed by some Chiapas residents. According to one report:
"Congratulations for the special effects" and "Sabinestradamus" - referring to state governor Juan Sabines - where some of the phrases that circulated among the populace.The simulation was planned months in advance and, aside from the possible coincidence, came at an ideal time. Between January 1st and February 3rd of this year over 180 earthquakes had Chiapas as their epicenter. Thus, accounting for over half of the tremors in all of Mexico during that period of time.
Víctor Amezcua, the official in charge of the drill in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, half jokingly distanced the government from the coincidence. "No way, we had no knowledge that would happen. An earthquake cannot be expected. Not even Japan has technology that can predict tremors," said Amezcua.
Video Sources - YouTube via kingmax168, TVS Chiapas
Online Sources - El Universal, infoBAE.com, The Latin Americanist