A magnitude 7.1 quake struck early Thursday morning off the Caribbean coast of Honduras killing four people and wounding 40 more.

So far more than 24 homes have collapsed in Honduras and Belize.

Honduras was jolted by a 4.8 aftershock just three hours after the original temblor early this morning.

More than two dozen homes crumbled and a huge section of a bridge that connects Honduras' second-largest city with the rest of the Central American country has collapsed. Fire officials say a midsection of the bridge "fell into the river."

Belize City, residents ran outside as glasses and pictures crashed off shelves.

Officials say a water tower toppled in the Belize town of Independence and electricity was out all the way to the Mexican border.

Electricity, phones and Internet connections have been reportedly cut across a large part of Honduras.

"People were running for the door," Alfredo Cedeno said from the reception desk at the Gran Hotel Paris in La Ceiba. "You could really feel it and you could see it - the water came out of the pool."

Reynaldo Funez, 15, was buried in his house in Pineda de la Lima, 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, and 6-year-old Deily Yazmin Santos was killed when her house collapsed in the beach town of Morazan, national fire commander Col. Carlos Cordero said.

Ana Maria Rivera, spokeswoman for Honduras' Permanent Emergency Commission, said Jose Vicente Maradiaga died of a heart attack during the earthquake in the seaside town of Tela, and a 3-year-old boy was crushed when his roof collapsed in Mapulaca near the Salvadoran border.

She didn't have Maradiaga's age or the boy's name.

"It was an earthquake of great proportions," she said.

Cordero said at least 40 people were injured, most along the Caribbean coast.

The quake was relatively shallow, with a depth of only 6 miles (10 kilometers), increasing its potential to cause major damage, said Don Blakeman, a U.S. Geological Survey expert.

"It is still possible we may find out there was more damage, but I think the fact that this earthquake was a bit off shore has helped tremendously," he said. "Obviously the further away from the epicenter you get, there is less damage."

Blakeman said people in Mexico and on several Caribbean islands also reported feeling the earthquake.

The USGS said a magnitude-4.8 aftershock struck off Honduras about three hours after the quake.