Tlalnepantla, Mexico – A section of mountain on the outskirts of Mexico City gave way Friday, plunging rocks the size of small homes onto a densely populated neighborhood and leaving at least one person dead and 10 others missing.
Images from the area showed a segment of the steep, green side of the peak known as Chiquihuite sheered off above a field of giant rubble with closely packed homes remaining on either side.
The municipal government of Tlalnepantla posted a photo of firefighters scaling a three-story pile of rocks that appeared to be resting on a home.
As rescuers climbed the immense pile of debris, they occasionally raised their fists in the air, the familiar signal for silence to listen for people trapped below. Firefighters and volunteers formed bucket brigades to pass 5-gallon containers of smaller debris away as they excavated.
“In this moment our priority is focused on rescuing the people who unfortunately were surprised at the site of the incident,” said Tlalnepantla Mayor Raciel Pérez Cruz in a video message. Authorities had evacuated surrounding homes and asked people to avoid the area so rescuers could work.
Tlalnepantla is part of Mexico state, which surrounds the capital on three sides. Mexico Gov. Alfredo del Mazo said via Twitter that local, state and federal authorities were coordinating to secure the zone in case of more slides and to remove rubble to locate possible victims.
The landslide follows days of heavy rain in central Mexico and a 7.0-magnitude earthquake Tuesday night near Acapulco that shook buildings 200 miles (320 kilometers) away in Mexico City.
Just three days earlier, the Tlalnepantla government said in a statement that city crews were working to clear mud and rock that had poured from the mountain into the same neighborhood during heavy rains.
Source: Associated Press