MEXICO CITY, Mexico (ABC4 Utah) – More than 140 people are dead after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked central Mexico Tuesday afternoon, hitting on the 32nd anniversary of the biggest earthquake to ever strike the country’s capital.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Tuesday evening regarding the status of missionaries in the country.
“We are heartbroken to see the destruction and suffering that is occurring as a result of another serious earthquake in Mexico. At this time, it’s difficult to understand fully the impact, including to Church members and facilities. The Missionary Training Center in Mexico was not damaged, and the missionaries there are safe. There are several missions in this region, and mission presidents are working to determine the status of all missionaries. Some have reported that all are safe, while others are still assessing the situation. This is complicated by damaged communications systems, large distances, and travel difficulties. Mission presidents will keep families updated as they are able, and we will provide additional details as we learn more. We pray for their safety and invite others to join us in our prayers for Mexico and her people.”
The earthquake caused extensive damage to Mexico City, leveling at least 27 buildings, including homes, schools and office buildings, according to President Enrique Pena Nieto, who did a flyover of the city Tuesday afternoon.
Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Mexico this evening following today’s devastating earthquake.— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) September 20, 2017
At least two children were trapped under rubble at the entrance of a school in Mexico City, according to local reports. Neighbors and volunteers were working to free them. Meanwhile, the city’s airport descended into chaos as the ground rippled and chunks of plaster fell from the walls, Dallas resident George Smallwood told ABC News.
“I felt the ground shaking, and I heard everyone screaming and starting to run,” he said, adding that at first, he thought he was in the middle of a terror attack.
This earthquake comes 11 days after an 8.1 magnitude quake struck off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, killing dozens of people. Tuesday’s earthquake hit at about 2:14 p.m. ET near the town of Raboso in Puebla state, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The deaths occurred in Mexico City, and the states of Morelos, Puebla and Mexico, said Carlos Valdes, director of Mexico’s National Center for Prevention of Disasters.
Preliminary numbers show about 3.8 million customers are without power, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission said.
This is a developing story. We’ll have more information as it becomes available. ABC News contributed to this report.