By NP Newsroom
MEXICO CITY: Tuesday’s powerful earthquake that shook Mexico City and surrounding states, killing scores and leaving many trapped under collapsed buildings, had people and trained rescuers searching for survivors through last night.
At least 216 people died in the Mexico City quake and in the surrounding states of Puebla, Mexico and Morelos. Officials and unconfirmed reports previously set the death toll at 248 people, but it was revised down after some survivors were found under rubble.
The epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake was 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometers) east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 34.1 miles (55 km) south-southwest of the city of Puebla, in Puebla state, according to the US Geological Survey. President Enrique Peña Nieto is reported to have said that 22 bodies were found in the debris of an elementary school in Mexico City. At least 30 children were still missing on Tuesday night, he said.
Tuesday’s earthquake followed a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck off the southern coast Mexico, killing at least 90, the governor of the hardest-hit state of Oaxaca said.
In Mexico City, thousands of soldiers, rescuers and civilians — including college students — helped rescue officials dig through piles of rubble.
The quake left the busiest city in Mexico in chaos. Windows shattered and fell several stories to the ground as thousands swarmed into the streets to escape crumbling buildings and gas leaks. People were frantic to get home when electricity poles toppled and blocked the streets, temporarily shutting down the public transportation system.
Schools in Mexico City and some of the other affected states will remain closed until further notice, Education Minister Aurelio Nuño tweeted.
CNN reports: Adrian Wilson, a photographer from New York City who was visiting his fiancee, was eating in the capital when the earthquake struck. “The floor gently rocked as if a big truck went by,” Wilson said. “It then amplified in waves and the whole room started shaking. The building is from the 1930s and just survived a big earthquake, so I knew I would be OK.” Wilson told CNN he took a quick video to show his children.
He looked outside and saw helicopters, and burning and collapsed buildings. “Then you realize … this is no joy ride for anybody.”