New 6.1 magnitude earthquake hits Mexico
Region still reeling from earlier, stronger earthquake
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Saturday, the third to jolt the reeling nation this month.
The strong quake was centered about 11 miles south-southeast of Matias Romero in the state of Oaxaca, which was the region most battered by a magnitude 8.1 quake on Sept. 7.
There was no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
The earthquake, which struck around 8 a.m. local time, swayed buildings and set off a seismic alarm in Mexico City, prompting civil defense officials to temporarily suspend rescue operations in the rubble of buildings downed by Thursday's magnitude 7.1 quake in central Mexico that killed at least 295 people.
A female firefighter is carried out on a stretcher after spraining her ankle as rescue workers race against the clock to reach possible survivors trapped inside an office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City, (AP)
That quake dimmed activity in the stylish Condesa neighborhood, where young revelers typically spill out from dimly lit bars and restaurants on a Friday night.
Instead of crowds gathered with beers, small handfuls of rescue workers still dressed in reflective vests took breaks from digging through rubble. Entire restaurants with white linen tables were empty. Metal gates shuttered others.
"It feels lifeless," said Mariana Aguilar, 27, a hostess at a bar and restaurant who stood waiting for guests yet to arrive. "I walk through these streets every day and you never imagine something like this would happen."
The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit by the quake, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week.
Rescue workers use a crane to lift a section of the building as rescue workers race against the clock to reach possible survivors trapped inside a office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City (AP)
"The city is still quite tense," said Israel Escamilla, an engineer, as he sipped a plastic cup filled with Coke at an empty bar. "But as good Mexicans we have to keep lending support however we can."
As rescue operations stretched into Day 5, residents throughout the city held out hope that dozens still missing might be found alive. More than half the dead —157 — perished in the capital, while another 73 died in the state of Morelos, 45 in Puebla, 13 in Mexico State, six in Guerrero and one in Oaxaca.
Along a 60-foot stretch of a bike lane in Mexico City's downtown, families huddled under tarps and donated blankets Friday, awaiting word of loved ones trapped in the four-story-high pile of rubble behind them.
"There are moments when you feel like you're breaking down," said Patricia Fernandez Romero, who was waiting for word on the fate of her 27-year-old son. "And there are moments when you're a little calmer. … They are all moments that you wouldn't wish on anyone."
Along the bike lane, where families slept in tents, accepting food and coffee from strangers, people have organized to present a united front to authorities, who they pressed ceaselessly for information.
A Mexican soldier and his dog search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero – RC1BDE7EE6E0
They were told that water and food had been passed along to at least some of those trapped inside. On Friday morning, after hours of inactivity blamed on rain, rescuers were readying to re-enter the site, joined by teams from Japan and Israel. Fernandez said officials told them they knew where people were trapped on the fourth floor.
It's the moments between those bits of information that torment the families.
"It's that you get to a point when you're so tense, when they don't come out to give us information," she said. "It's so infuriating."
Jose Gutierrez, a civil engineer attached to the rescue who has a relative trapped in the wreckage, gathered other families of the missing to let them know what was going on.
"My family is in there. I want them to get out," Gutierrez said, his voice breaking. "So … we go onward."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.