Volunteers create giant human chain spanning four blocks to rescue trapped victims

Volunteers in Mexico City have formed a human chain spanning four city blocks to rescue those trapped in the wreckage of an apartment building that collapsed following a massive earthquake, one of a number of rescue efforts across the city

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the city on Tuesday decimated around 40 buildings, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said. The shocks have already caused at least 230 deaths – 100 of them in the capital city alone.

At the site of one collapsed apartment building, dozens of volunteers formed an assembly line to pass rubble out of the area. At another building, volunteers linked up to pass a stretcher to rescue workers.

One man, an army reservist named Manuel Mavroleon Aguayo, told the BBC he had joined a team that pulled seven bodies out of a ruined building. Only two survived.

“A huge wave of people emerged out of where they were to help with the rescue effort,” Mr Aguayo said.

A total of 52 people have been saved from collapsed buildings so far, according to the Mexico City government. The city’s Social Development Department tweeted the number Wednesday afternoon and added: “We won’t stop.”

At a Mexico City primary and secondary school – called the Enrique Rebsamen school – rescue workers and volunteers worked into the night, illuminated by floodlights, to dig out those trapped inside. The teams used dogs, cameras and heat-seeking equipment to detect survivors.

One volunteer, Pedro Serrano, told AP he had dug his way into a collapsed classroom.

“We saw some chairs and wooden tables,” he recalled. “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.”

All three of them had died.

Rescue workers were able to save 11 people at the school by Wednesday afternoon, but a number more were still unaccounted for. A teacher and two students had sent text messages from inside the decimated building, workers said.

Twenty-one children and four adults have already been reported dead, with the rescue efforts at the school becoming national news.

One young girl was saved when rescuers spotted her and yelled out to her to shake her hand if she was alive. Other parents were left waiting to wonder if their children would ever be found.

“They keep pulling kids out, but we know nothing of my daughter,” 32-year-old Adriana D’Fargo told Reuters. She had been waiting for hours for news of her seven-year-old.

Late in the day there were reports of another…

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