MEXICO CITY (CBSMiami) – At least 230 people have died as a result of Tuesday’s massive earthquake in Mexico City.
That number, unfortunately, may rise as rescue efforts continue.
Among those killed, several students who were inside a grade school that collapsed, one of several buildings in the area reduced to rubble.
Rescuers worked through the night and against the clock in Mexico City searching for survivors after a powerful earthquake struck yesterday afternoon.
“At my home when it started shaking it just kept getting stronger, I could hear things falling from shelves. Finally I went outside and you could feel the ground rolling and vibrating,” said Adrienne Bard.
At an elementary school crews used buckets and wheel barrels to dig through the debris. Officials said at least 22 children were killed when the school building collapsed, dozens of others are missing.
Family members rushed to the scene looking for loved ones.
Searches wrote ‘SILENCE’ on the school building with spray paint so they could listen for survivors while digging through the rubble. Jonathan Mendoza is looking for his cousin.
“The only thing that they have told is to to go to the hospitals to verify if our family is there,” he said. “But my family have gone there, and we don’t have news on our family member.”
The magnitude 7.1 quake was centered 76 miles southeast of Mexico City.
“It was really violent, I’ve never actually experienced anything like that,” said Brittany Kaiser who was giving a presentation in Mexico City when it struck.
She and thousands of others fled to the streets as the air filled with smoke from collapsing buildings.
“When we came outside you could see everything moving, from the streetlamps and the trees, even the cars that were on the street. There are some buildings that are completely and utterly demolished,” said Kaiser.
Mexico City’s mayor said, in the capital alone, at least 44 buildings came crashing to the ground.
Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto declared a state of emergency and says rescue efforts are the priority. He addressed the country late last night saying, “This earthquake is a hard test and a painful one for our country.”
The 1985 quake led to rigorous building codes and one of the world’s first early warning detection systems. A little more than a week ago, an 8.1 quake hit off Mexico’s southern coast killing at least 90.