A single girl trapped in a collapsed school became the voice of the victims of this week’s Mexican earthquake. Rescuers are still struggling to save her — and other trapped beneath the rubble.
Rescue workers labored to free a trapped schoolgirl in Mexico City on Thursday morning, almost two days after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake collapsed buildings and killed at least 230 people in the capital city and surrounding area.
As the sun rose, rescuers from the Mexican navy were attempting to free an unidentified 12-year-old girl from the ruins of a school in the south of the city where at least 26 people were known to have already died.
Protruding from the rubble, the girl’s hand was seen wiggling Wednesday evening, a signal that started a frantic effort to reach her that lasted throughout the night.
Admiral Jose Luis Vergara said his team was finding it difficult to locate the girl.
“There’s a girl alive in there, we’re pretty sure of that, but we still don’t know how to get to her,” Vergara told Mexican broadcaster Televisa. “The hours that have passed complicate the chances of finding alive or in good health the person who might be trapped.”
Crews continued to remove debris on Thursday in the hope of saving another life. They had earlier freed 11 children.
A national tragedy
President Enrique Pena Nieto declared three days of mourning on Thursday and tried to reassure his citizens in the midst of the relief effort.
“Faced with the force of nature, we are all vulnerable and that is why we all unite when it comes to saving a life or helping a victim,” he said. “If anything distinguishes Mexicans, it is our generosity and fraternity.”
Mexican authorities have confirmed at least 115 dead in Mexico City and 117 dead in adjoining Morelos state and Puebla state. Over 1,900 people were injured and over 50 buildings in the capital alone had collapsed.
The United States, Spain, Japan and Israel as well as nine Latin American countries have promised to provide aid to an effort that has been unable to use heavy equipment for fear of crushing survivors.
Tuesday’s quake hit 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Mexico City in Puebla state in the afternoon. Striking only 31 kilometers (32 miles) below the surface, the quake’s shockwaves caused widespread damage throughout the region.
amp/sms (AP, Reuters)