Former Idol Star “Escaped With My Life” From Chile Earthquake

 Jordin Althaus/

Former American Idol contestant Elliott Yamin was one of millions to survive Saturday's massive 8.8-scale earthquake in the South American nation of Chile.

"Huge earthquake just now in Chile!!..I swear this was the end of my life!" he Tweeted early Saturday as the quake hit. "F*ck!!!!..I just escaped with my life."

Yamin, who finished third on season five of Idol, is in the country for the Vina del Mar International Song Festival.

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CNN actually began reporting on the singer's Tweets as part of its coverage of the disaster.

"Complete and utter choas on the streets…no power…my heart is beatin outta my chest!….tsunami warnin…I am only a mile inland," Yamin wrote.

A while later, he assured followers, "we r totally safe and sound 4 the time being…I'm finally calmer, and dawn is approaching,which will help!..thx 4 ur prayers…I'm totally calm now….were all 2gether…got blankets from our rooms, and we're all hudled on the aftershox in a while.."

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The Associated Press reports that the earthquake is one of the strongest ever recorded, leaving toppled building and collapsed bridges in its wake.  Tsunamis set off by the quake threaten countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, or roughly 25% of the planet.

President-elect Sebastian Pinera declared a national state of catastrophe, and stated that 120 have died — a number that is bound to rise quickly.

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Yamin later spoke with ABC News. "I'm doing OK, all things considered," he said, explaining that he was on the sixth floor of his hotel when the quake struck.

"It was a real fast, gyrating kind of shaking…I haven't been in an earthquake like that since I was a kid. I didn't even know if I was going to make it downstairs." The star confessed that he "shed a few tears. I was pretty emotional."

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He added gratefully that "no immediate destruction" was apparent in Vina del Mar, where he and his band were staying.

The earthquake's epicenter was near Concepion, Chile's second largest city, 200 miles southeast of the capital, Santiago.

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