Nearly a week on, hopes fade in Mexico City quake rescue operations
MEXICO CITY, APP/AFP) - Hopes of finding more survivors after Mexico City's devastating earthquake have dwindled to virtually nothing, nearly a week after the seismic jolt shook the mega-city, killing more than 300 people.
Yet authorities were still accommodating anguished families who insisted that painstaking rescue operations continue at a handful of the dozens of buildings toppled by the magnitude 7.1 quake that struck Tuesday.
Foreign teams from Israel, the US and elsewhere worked with dogs and hi-tech gear to try to detect signs of life under the rubble.
In the first three days, 69 people were pulled out alive. But since late Friday, only bodies have been recovered.
On a poster in front of a collapsed office block where several people were trapped by the quake, a picture of one of those inside read: "Adrian, you are a warrior.Your family,friends and Dario are waiting for you."
A series of smaller earthquakes in the south of Mexico on Saturday -- including a 6.1-magnitude tremor that triggered seismic alerts -- stoked panic in a population traumatized by Tuesday's disaster. Two women in the capital died of heart attacks.
The shaking also forced a brief suspension of rescue efforts.
The tremors underlined the historic vulnerability of the country to quakes, sitting as it does atop five tectonic plates.
A 1985 earthquake that killed 10,000 people in Mexico City is still fresh in the minds of locals so many years later.
But some of the families hoping against hope to see trapped loved ones again also clung to memories of "miracle" rescues in 1985 that happened more than a week after that quake.
Experts say that, usually, there is little to no chance of finding quake survivors after three days.
The smell of decaying bodies wafting from collapsed buildings presaged grief for some relatives.