Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET
(NPR) – Mexico City Earthquake Update: A strong earthquake that hit Mexico City and other central areas has killed at least 273 people, officials say. Search teams are working feverishly to find any survivors who were trapped.
However, Navy Assistant Secretary Angel Enrique Sarmiento said there is no missing child at the collapsed Mexico City school that has been the focus of rescue efforts.
“We’ve done an accounting with school officials, and we are certain that all the children either died, unfortunately, are in hospitals or are safe at their homes,” said Sarmiento as quoted by The Associated Press. He said 19 children and six adults were killed in the school collapse and 11 children were rescued.
Sarmiento said traces of blood and other signs suggest that an adult may still be alive in the rubble.
The stunning announcement follows multiple reports that a girl had been able to communicate with emergency crews and had wriggled her fingers for them in the debris of the Enrique Rebsamen School, south of the capital. The building collapsed during Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude quake.
After visiting the site, NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports:
“It is a heartbreaking scene. Hundreds of volunteers and rescue personnel have flooded to this neighborhood around the school … all are emotionally drained, tired, but just holding on to hope they can reach some of the children alive … under all that rubble.
“One wing of the school, three stories just pancaked in the powerful quake. One right on top of the other, making the rescue effort and chances of survival very difficult.
“But the volunteers keep coming … with hard hats and fluorescent vests. They’re removing the rubble with picks, shovels, their hands…whatever they can. And dozens more are taking in donations, feeding the rescuers, just wanting to be there and do something for those children either dead or trapped in the building.”