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Rescuers in Mexico City continue to dig through the rubble left by Tuesday’s powerful 7.1 earthquake, which killed at least 250 people including over 20 children at a collapsed school. Nearly 48 hours later, time is running out to detect survivors, yet hopes have risen after workers apparently located a 12-year-old girl known only as “Frida Sofia.”
Yet there’s still a great deal of mystery surrounding the girl’s true identity. On Tuesday, the moniker lit up Twitter as a hashtag after Mexican YouTube star Ryan Hoffman tweeted, “Little Frida Sofia has survived 32 hours trapped under the rubble, fighting for her life. A real fighter, soon she will be out of it.” His words were retweeted over 5,000 times, and the Washington Post reports on heavy TV coverage in Mexico surrounding the girl’s plight:
The drama played out live late Wednesday and early Thursday on the major news channels here, with television cameras tracking every movement of the Mexican marines and others who sought to rescue the girl now known as “Frida Sofia.” Under a soft rain, the work was delicate and painstaking, relying on thermal cameras and other technology to try to locate and remove young children trapped for more than 30 hours after their school collapsed on Tuesday.
Miraculously, rescuers did locate a girl who responded to that name on Wednesday night. She wiggled her fingers to show that she was alive, and the girl informed rescuers that at least “five more children alive” were trapped near her. TIME also reports confirmation from Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno that the girl known as Frida Sofia is alive, but officials cannot find relatives of any missing child named Frida. And as BBC notes, no “Frida Sofia” appears in official school records. So, that mystery deepens.
And she’s not out of danger yet. As of Thursday afternoon, rescuers have been unable to safely rescue the girl from the rubble, nor do authorities know exactly how many children are still trapped near her or elsewhere in the building. Hopes remain high after rescuers formed a human chain and were able to remove one significant chunk of concrete, but the situation remains precarious. “There’s a girl alive in there,” Admiral. Jose Luis Vergara Televisa (via NBC News), “but we still don’t know how to get to her.”
Here’s an aerial view of the collapsed school where rescuers are continuing the search for more missing children and adults.