More than 30 students have been confirmed dead, and 30 more are missing, as rescuers sift through the rubble of the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary school, a private school that was one of 44 buildings in Mexico City that collapsed during Tuesday's historic earthquake. According to the Associated Press, a wing of the three-story school pancaked into a pile of concrete slabs during the quake, killing dozens and leaving dozens more trapped in the wreckage.
Soldiers and volunteers toiled through the night to try and free the trapped schoolchildren and staff. At least and five teachers, and 32 students, have been confirmed dead. The 7.1 magnitude quake shook Central Mexico, leaving at least 250 people dead in the deadliest earthquake since a 1985 quake that left 5,000 dead. Bizarrely, Tuesday's quake occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 quake. Two children were rescued from the rubble, but 30 more people are still missing, local media reported.
The hundreds of soldiers and volunteer rescue workers who were frantically digging through the debris said they could hear noises in the rubble, but have been unable to discern whether sounds emanating from the ruined wing were survivors pounding for help, or simply the noises of shifting wreckage, according to NBC.
Working through the night, the AP described how workers would ask for silence occasionally to listen for signs of life amid the wreckage.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said last night that rescue teams “are hauling out debris, material, trying to get through the rubble and rescue people.”
Foro TV reported that rescuers spotted the child and shouted to her to move her hand if she could hear them, and she did. A search dog subsequently entered the wreckage and confirmed she was alive. Several other children were rescued shortly after the quake.
One doctor recounted to the Associated Press how he crawled through the rubble
“Pedro Serrano, a 29-year-old doctor, was one of the ordinary Mexicans who had volunteered to join the rescue effort. He crawled into a crevice amid the tottering pile.
"We dug holes, then crawled in on our bellies," Serrano said.
With barely room to move, he wriggled deeper into the wrecked school.
"We managed to get into a collapsed classroom. We saw some chairs and wooden tables," Serrano said. "The next thing we saw was a leg, and then we started to move rubble and we found a girl and two adults — a woman and a man."
None of them was alive.”
Outside the school, rumors circulated that two families had received Whatsapp messages from girls trapped inside. Nobody could say for sure whether it was true.
Express reports that a post being widely shared on social media reads: "Friends who are the south of Mexico City your help is needed, please!”
"There are children beneath the rubble at the Enrique Rebsamen school."
Anxious parents traveled to the scene holding up signs with their child's names written on them.
A more powerful earthquake struck last month – what was then the strongest in 100 years. But the damage was less widespread and the number of deaths was 93. While weaker, Tuesday's earthquake was far deadlier and far more destructive, disrupting power grids across an entire region.