As Mexico recovers from the devastating 7.1 earthquake, authorities are still searching for survivors. After initially thinking three kids were buried alive under a collapsed elementary school, all children have been accounted for.
“At this moment we know that at least one girl is alive inside,” Admiral Jose Luis Vergara told CNN affiliate Foro TV on the morning of Sept. 21, also warning against reports that a rescue is imminent. Three unknown children – reportedly around the ages of 5, 7, and 9 – were trapped underneath the collapsed Colegio Enrique Rebsamen, one of the many buildings that fell after the devastating earthquake. Initial reports claimed that a 12-year-old girl was trapped beneath the elementary school, but CNN’s live reporting stated there were three children underneath the rubble.
Update 4:18 PM ET: All children have been accounted for, the sub-secretary of the Mexican Navy said, according to CNN. There are possible indications that one person may still be alive inside Colegio Enrique Rebsamen. “We have done an official count along with the directors of the school, and we are certain that all the children either passed away, are in local hospitals, or are safe and sound in their houses.”
Rescuers asked for onlooking crowds to be quiet so they could hear any voices from coming underneath the debris. As the crews dug through the wreckage, volunteers brought water and food amid the chaos. “This is the spirit of us, of Mexico,” volunteer Ivan Ramos of Mexico City said Wednesday night, per CNN. “That’s our community in general; it crosses classes — if you are rich or poor — and any other divide.” The children were reportedly trapped underneath two large slabs of concrete, which made their rescue even more dangerous. Crews have to be careful when removing chunks of debris, as not to suddenly cause the whole pile to collapse on the three children.
A 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico on Sep. 19, rocking the country to its very core. Dozens of buildings in central Mexico, including Mexico City, were just obliterated into dust and debris. At least 250 people were killed, according to Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera.
Out of the 400 students who attend the school, it isn’t known how many were in the building when the earthquake struck, according to The New York Times. The injured, more than 60, were sent to an area hospital. At least three parents of the survivors have been communicating with their children via the messaging service WhatsApp, asking for details so they can coordinate the rescue efforts.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by this earthquake.