A major magnitude-7.1 earthquake has hit central Mexico, killing at least 119 people, trapping an unknown number of others beneath toppled buildings and forcing thousands of people into the streets in panic.
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said at least 44 buildings collapsed in the capital, one of the world’s biggest cities, and between 50 and 60 people had been pulled alive from rubble.
TV images showed a multi-storey building with a middle floor collapsed as sirens blared from first responders rushing to the scene.
Other video showed cars crushed by debris, and the side of a government building coming apart and falling onto the street as bystanders screamed.
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VIDEO: People help the injured as buildings collapse in Mexico (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Jasso) (ABC News)
The highest death toll was in Morelos state, just south of Mexico City, where at least 54 deaths were reported.
The Governor of the state of Puebla, where the epicentre of the quake was located, said at least 26 people were killed there.
At least nine people were killed in the State of Mexico, according to officials.
Mr Mancera said at least 30 people died in the capital and others were trapped in burning buildings.
The epicentre was 8 kilometres south-east of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 51 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
“We got out really fast, leaving everything as it was and just left,” said Rosaura Suarez, as she stood with a crowd on the street.
Mexico City’s international airport said it had suspended operations while officials checked for structural damage.
US President Donald Trump said on Twitter: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”
Residents dig through rubble for neighbours
Amid the destruction, residents of Mexico City were digging through rubble to save their neighbours.
Carlos Mendoza was standing just blocks away when an apartment building collapsed in Mexico City’s trendy Roma neighbourhood.
The 30-year-old joined the rescue efforts and said he had been able to pull two people alive from the rubble in three hours of work.
Also in Roma, Alma Gonzalez was in her fourth floor apartment when the quake collapsed the ground floor of her building, leaving her no way out.
She was terrified until the people living in the neighbouring house mounted a ladder on their roof and helped her slide out a side window.
“They helped us leave with a ladder,” Ms Gonzalez said.
“I think my father the Lord who has us here for some reason.”
Quake hits hours after national drills
Mexico City and its surrounding area are home to about 20 million people.
The quake hit only hours after many people participated in earthquake drills around the nation on the anniversary of the devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.
“People are really scared right now,” said dentist Claudia Meneses, who was in her clinic in Mexico City’s Lindavista neighbourhood when the earthquake struck mid-afternoon.
“We’re going to go to a building that fell to see if we can help.”
Many people were also still shaken from the recent quake on September 7, a powerful magnitude-8.1 that killed at least 98 people.
US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said the most recent earthquake was too far from the larger quake 11 days ago to be an aftershock and appears to be a separate and unrelated event.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was on a flight to Oaxaca, one of the hardest hit areas by that quake, and said via his Twitter account that he was immediately returning to attend to the quake in Mexico City.