Mexico quake: authorities doubt any children remain trapped in collapsed school

Officials have expressed doubt that any children remain in the rubble of the collapsed elementary school, following the powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shocked Mexico City, on Tuesday

22 September 2017, 8:50am
Rescue teams continue searching for students trapped in the rubble of Enrique Rebsamen School in Mexico City (Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Rescue teams continue searching for students trapped in the rubble of Enrique Rebsamen School in Mexico City (Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Mexican officials have expressed doubt that any children — dead or alive — remained in the rubble of a collapsed elementary school in Mexico City. The country has been fixated, for over 24 hours, on the search for a missing student, following the devastating earthquake.

 Authorities have confirmed 25 dead, including 19 children and six adults, at the school and also said that another 11 children were being treated at hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries.

In the meantime, search teams identified an adult still trapped in the rubble who may have died but said that they suspected no one else would be found in the wreckage, as all students were accounted for.

“It is very likely that there is nobody,” a senior Mexican official said at the site but insisted that the search would continue until any shred of doubt was removed. Adm. Ángel Enrique Sarmiento, deputy secretary of the Mexican navy, told reporters:

“we are sure that all the children either unfortunately died or are in hospitals or safe in their homes.”

The prospect that no more students would be found could raise a number of eyebrows, as the story of “Friday Sofia”, a 12-year-old girl reportedly trapped in the debris, was reported all over international media.

The school emerged as a symbol of the horror and heartbreak, caused by Tuesday’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which has left at least 273 people dead and more than 2,000 injured in the capital and five states. The highest number of fatalities, that of 137, was in Mexico City.

The quake occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the quake which destroyed parts of the capital in 1985, and left thousands dead.

On the third day of the rescue effort, hopes were dwindling that victims in other parts of the city or surrounding states might be saved. But emergency workers and volunteers continued to search through the rubble of some shattered buildings, using dogs, cameras and motion-sensing equipment. Several survivors — and a number of corpses — were pulled from collapsed buildings late on Wednesday and early Thursday.