Chile Earthquake Prompts Break Out From Women's Prison

Police searching for hundreds of female inmates who escaped in Chile.

April 2, 2014— -- A manhunt, or a womanhunt, is underway in Chile after a powerful 8.2 magnitude earthquake triggered a mass breakout from a woman's prison.

The jailbreak happened before dawn today when 300 women were being evacuated from the Iquique prison after the quake created a tsunami warning, landslides and power outages. The women set the premises on fire during the escape, according to the El Mundo newspaper.

Police said 39 of the escapees have been recaptured and authorities are searching for the other missing inmates.

Armed forces and police are taking action to ensure public order in the northern Chile city after the “massive escape,” Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said.

The magnitude 8.2 earthquake forced more than 900,000 people along Chile’s coast to evacuate and left six people dead. Tsunami warnings have been canceled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.