Mexico Earthquake Death Toll Increases to 273

Rescue workers said Wednesday they believed they'd made contact with a girl trapped in the rubble at the school, where at least 19 children and six adults were killed.

The story of Frida Sofia was "not a reality", Angel Enrique Sarmiento, the under-secretary of the navy, reported on Thursday afternoon.

"We have done an accounting with school officials and we are certain that all of the children either died, unfortunately, are in hospitals, or are safe at their homes", Sarmiento said.

Most have no memory of the 1985 natural disaster that killed thousands and remains a traumatic memory in the minds of older Mexicans, making Tuesday's quake a defining moment for a younger generation.

The temblor was the second major one to hit the country in less than two weeks, following an 8.1 magnitude quake farther south on September 8, killing almost 100 people.

"At the moment the greatest damage has been to the Ixtaltepec bridge, which should be rebuilt, and structures with previous damage that collapsed", President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted.

"I haven't been to my home in two nights because we've been here, helping", he said.

"I can remember the feeling of lifelessness in their bodies", he said.

At the site of an office building that collapsed Tuesday and where an around-the-clock search for survivors was still ongoing, rescuers briefly evacuated from atop the pile of rubble after the morning quake before returning to work.

Recommending that nobody enter damaged buildings and houses, as well as reviewing electrical and gas installations, he added that "the priority at this time is to continue the rescue of those still trapped and to provide medical care to the injured".

In Mexico City's Condesa section, a large rescue operation was underway at a collapsed building that had housed an outsourcing company.

The child became a symbol of hope, but no family members came forward to identify the girl, and officials said no student by that name was registered at the school. Soldiers, rescuers and medics worked relentlessly, including some who said they had been there for 36 hours before being relieved.

Long lines of volunteers passed chunks of debris from hand to hand at a collapsed clothing factory where several people died. Authorities said at least 70 people in the capital had been hospitalised for injuries.

They had pulled 28 survivors from the mountain of rubble in two days. "We're living day to day", she said.

Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said there were no reports of significant new damage in the capital, and rescue efforts related to Tuesday's quake were continuing.

About 1,300 navy personnel are taking part in rescue efforts in various parts of the Mexican capital, alongside other brigades including police, Red Cross workers and civilian volunteers.

The death toll from Tuesday's quake that devastated central Mexico has now reached 286, according to Luis Felipe Puente, coordinator of the Interior Ministry's National Civil Protection service.

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