Nearly 140 people were killed when a powerful, 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday, toppling buildings in the capital and sowing panic on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake.
Rescue crews and volunteers in Mexico City — home to 20 million people — clawed through the rubble of at least 49 collapsed buildings looking for survivors and bodies.
Local media reported that families were getting Whatsapp messages pleading for help from desperate relatives trapped under the debris.
Mexico City recorded 36 of the deaths, while Morelos state directly south of it saw 64 killed. The others were registered in Puebla (29), a town southeast of the capital, and in Mexico state (nine), which lies just to the west of the capital.
National Coordinator for Civil Protection Luis Felipe Puente said a total of at least 138 people died.
Memories of the devastating 1985 earthquake that killed 10,000 people in Mexico City spurred panic on Tuesday. Many quickly ran for safety outdoors when walls around them swayed and cracked.
The quake — which occurred in the early afternoon, hours after city authorities had conducted an earthquake drill — caused damage in the bustling center of the city, and to areas south and west of the capital.
Scenes of chaos permeated the city straight after the earth shuddered. Traffic jammed to a standstill before blanked-out stop lights, and anxious people ran between vehicles as ambulances tried to make headway, sirens squealing.