Mexico earthquake: Missing school girl Frida Sofia doesn’t exist

By @chelean on
Mexican soldiers and rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 21, 2017.
Mexican soldiers and rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed building after an earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico September 21, 2017. Reuters/Carlos Jasso

The missing school girl feared to be trapped in earthquake rubble doesn’t exist. Mexicans were focused on rescuing a girl named Frida Sofia since the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit the country on Tuesday. However, she never existed.

The rescue operation at the Enrique Rebsamen school in central Mexico had been trying to save a 12-year-old girl believed to be trapped beneath the collapsed building. The girl reportedly caught the attention of the rescuers when she wiggled her fingers beneath the debris. She allegedly told them her name and said there were other students trapped with her. The rescuers worked double time in a bid to save her and the others.

Frida Sofia’s name has reached local and international media, with people tuning in on the news, anticipating her rescue. But as it turned out, Frida Sofia is imaginary, according to Mexican Navy officials.

“We want to emphasise that we have no knowledge about the report that emerged with the name of a girl,” Navy assistant secretary Angel Enrique Sarmiento said. “We never had any knowledge about that report, and we do not believe – we are sure – it was not a reality.”

He explained that the only person listed as missing was a school employee. And when they lowered a camera into the rubble of the school, it showed blood tracks where an injured person appeared to have had crawled on. The person could be the missing school staff. As for the reported fingers, Sarmiento said it could be from the several dead people that were removed from the rubble.

Later on, he clarified that the rescuers would still continue the operation as long as they believed there were still people trapped inside. “As long as there is the slightest possibility of someone alive, we will continue searching with the same energy,” he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Although the news of Frida Sofia was quickly branded as fake news following the clarification of the Mexican Navy, there had been rescuers who believed it to be correct. The AP interviewed some of them on Wednesday, and they said the girl was alive beneath the wreckage.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto declared three days of national mourning as the death toll reached 137 in Mexico City alone. As of the last update, there were 273 casualties from the disaster.