Published: Sat, September 23, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Frida the rescue dog emerges as hero of Mexican quake

Frida the rescue dog emerges as hero of Mexican quake

The news came as rescue teams worked to free students and teachers trapped in the elementary school, which crumbled after a 7.1 magnitude quake struck this week.

"We want to emphasize that we have no knowledge about the report that emerged with the name of a girl", navy Assistant Secretary Angel Enrique Sarmiento said today.

But as for the 12-year-old girl still trapped in the rubble?

"We want to be hopeful", Villegas said.

The announcement left many wondering what had happened to "Frida Sofia", the name given to the schoolgirl who rescue workers said they had made contact with from inside the building. The workers had been toiling through the night, and the change of rescuing the girl appeared to give them hope and goal despite their exhaustion.

They came self sufficient with seven days' worth of food, water and supplies and prepared to work around the clock, said Cesar Lange, leader of the Panamanian Civil Protection unit.

After Admiral Ángel Enrique Sarmiento gave the news Thursday afternoon, Noticieros Televisa stuck to their original reporting, saying that all the information that was given to viewers about the girl had been verified with officials on the ground, including Mexico's Navy.

The Associated Press and others reported about the search for the girl, based on interviews with rescue workers leaving the scene who believed it was true.

Mr Sarmiento pushed back against these reports on Thursday. But on Thursday evening, Mexican officials said that there is no evidence that the girl exists.

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Authorities put the death toll from Tuesday's quake at 286 people, but it was expected to rise further with scores still missing in Mexico City.

Rescuers periodically demanded "total silence" bystanders, who would freeze in place and stay quiet, to better hear calls for help.

"As television crews broadcast the efforts, hoping to catch 'Frida Sofia's" heroic rescue, workers pulled the lifeless body of a 58-year-old school worker out of the wreckage. "The hours that have passed complicate the chances of finding alive or in good health the person who might be trapped", he said. Eleven were safely rescued.

They and other parents clung to hope after rescue teams reported a teacher and two students had sent text messages from within the rubble. The man, Vladimir Navarro, said the rescue workers were "just meters away from getting to the children", but had to be painstakingly careful in the unstable rubble.

Measures such as adding structural walls, taking out windows and putting in supports are pricey, but substantially improve building safety in earthquake-prone areas, said Mary Comerio, a professor of the graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.

"We saw some chairs and wooden tables", he told the AP. Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 natural disaster has stunned central Mexico, killing more than 200 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust.

Eugene Zapata-Garesché, Latin America and Caribbean director for the 100 Resilient Cities network which helps cities prepare for modern-day challenges, said it can take generations for people to recover from major shocks like earthquakes.

Rescuers swarmed over rubble with shovels and picks on Thursday in a frantic search for survivors two days after Mexico's deadliest quake in a generation, focusing on 10 collapsed buildings where people may still be alive. "If anything distinguishes Mexicans, it is our generosity and fraternity".

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