In Mexico City, rescuers are still digging through concrete rubble after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that killed over 250 people. However, authorities say that all children who were trapped within a collapsed school are accounted for, which threw a kink into widespread reports that kept residents sitting by the TV set. This involved the plight of “Frida Sofia,” the 12-year-old girl who supposedly wiggled her fingers from underneath the rubble. The Daily Beast reports that people are outraged after learning that the girl never existed.
There were signs that this could be the case, for #FridaSofia became a Twitter hashtag after a Mexican YouTube star tweeted the name, and Mexican TV coverage subsequently went into overdrive. Many reputable outlets celebrated reports that she had been located, but no one could locate relatives to claim the girl, nor did the school have any records of her existence. CNN now reports that the Mexican Navy has apologized to the country for all false reports on the matter:
A Mexican navy official apologized to the public for the confusion over the reports about a young girl trapped in the rubble of a collapsed school in Mexico City after this week’s earthquake.
Angel Enrique Sarmiento, deputy secretary of the Mexican navy, told reporters at the site Thursday the initial reports were based on technical reports and the accounts of civilian and Navy rescuers.
After social media nabbed the reports and ran with them, it seems that the Frida-Sofia phenomenon took on a life of its own. With TV networks keeping a round-the-clock vigil as rescuers scrambled to locate and rescue the girl, the false reports of her location spread like wildfire. “She” was, of course, a symbol of optimism in the face of unspeakable tragedy, but the Mexican Navy is now trying to quell public anger, all while continuing to pick up the pieces.