Fears of building’s collapse as rescuers race to reach girl trapped under rubble in Mexico

Mexico City (CNN)Rescuers are getting closer to pinpointing the exact location of a 12-year-old girl trapped beneath the debris of a collapsed elementary school in Mexico.

“At this moment we know that at least one girl is alive inside,” Admiral Jose Luis Vergara told CNN affiliate Foro TV Thursday morning. The Mexican Navy official also warned of premature reports that a rescue is imminent.

At Colegio Enrique Rebsamen — one of several structures that crumbled in Tuesday’s earthquake in Central Mexico — rescuers are hauling long pieces of lumber and carrying chunks of concrete down away from the debris.

The magnitude-7.1 quake turned dozens of buildings in central Mexico into dust and debris, killing at least 250 people, Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told Foro TV.

The crowds are staying quiet to allow rescuers to hear any voices coming from under the debris, but the sound of metal and concrete cracking punctuates the near silence.

As rescuers clawed through the debris looking for survivors early Thursday morning, volunteers brought water and food amid the chaos. Soldiers, rescuers and medics didn’t stop working despite the rain and the risk of the building’s further collapse.
Rescue crews rush to save survivors trapped under the collapsed school.

Rescue crews rush to save survivors trapped under the collapsed school.

The search for survivors at the school intensified Wednesday afternoon when rescuers made contact with the 12-year-old girl and when temperature readings suggested that two others might be alive inside, Foro TV reported.

Shortly after a cloud of dust flew up prompting rescuers to briefly stop operations, rescuer Alberto Salinas made a public plea on TV for beams, pulleys and other materials to shore up the structure.

“This is the spirit of us, of Mexico,” volunteer Ivan Ramos of Mexico City said Wednesday night. “That’s our community in general; it crosses classes — if you are rich or poor — and any other divide.”