Mexico earthquake: Tremors 'trigger volcanic eruption' as at least 20 children among 248 dead after primary school collapses

The deadly earthquake in Mexico has appeared to have triggered an eruption of a volcano in the country, adding to the death toll of at least 248 people.

The Popocatépetl volcano apparently erupted after the 7.1 magnitude quake struck Mexico City at 1:14pm on Tuesday afternoon.

A church on the slopes of the volcano in Atzitzihuacán collapsed during mass, killing 15 people, according to Puebla governor José Antonio Gali.

At least 20 children are among the 248 killed by the quake after the Colegio Enrique Rebsamen primary school collapsed.

Thirty more children and eight adults are sill missing, with desperate parents waiting outside the gates for any news.

The quake appears to have triggered the Popocatépetl volcano (Twitter)
Rescue workers search for children trapped inside the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school (AP)
Volunteers bring pieces of wood to help prop up sections of the collapsed school (AP)
At least 20 children were killed when the school collapsed (AP)
Parents have been desperately waiting for news of their children (AP)
The search is on for survivors among the rubble (Rex)
The scene on the streets is one of utter devastation (Rex)

Relatives said they had received a WhatsApp message from two girls inside.

Adriana D’Fargo, 32, whose seven-year-old daughter is still missing, said: ”They keep pulling kids out, but we know nothing of my daughter.”

President Enrique Pena Nieto, after visiting the school, appealed for calm, saying: “The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people.”

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The rescue effort continued long through the night, the work punctuated by cries of “quiet” so searchers could listen for any faint calls for help,

Mr Pena Nieto added: “They have heard voices in there.”

The magnitude 7.1 quake struck at 1:14pm on the 32nd anniversary of the tremor that killed thousands and came just two hours after earthquake drills were held across Mexico to mark the date.

The 7.1 magnitude quake struck in the middle of the afternoon (PA)
Dust rises over down town Mexico City during the 7.1 earthquake (PA)
Civilians have joined in with the rescue efforts (Rex)

Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 sites in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed and twisted and hundreds of thousands of panicked people ran into the streets blocking traffic.

The national Civil Defence agency reported that the confirmed death toll had climbed to 248, more than half of them in the capital.

The official Twitter feed of agency head Luis Felipe Puente said 117 dead had been counted in Mexico City and 72 in Morelos state, which is just south of the capital.

A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighbourhood of Mexico City (AP)

Remains of a damaged building stands after the earthquake struck (AP)
Buildings were left in ruins following the huge quake (AP)
The quake destroyed buildings with ease (Rex)
The death toll in the earthquake is expected to rise (Rex)

It said 43 were known dead in Puebla state, where the quake was centred.

Where a six-story office building collapsed in Mexico City, sisters Cristina and Victoria Lopez Torres formed part of a human chain passing bottled water.

Christina said: ”I think it’s human nature that drives everyone to come and help others.

Her sister Victoria added: ”We are young, we didn’t live in ’85, but we know that it’s important to come out to the street to help.”

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