Landslide hits homes on outskirts of Mexico City

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TLALNEPANTLA, Mexico (AP) – A section of mountain on the outskirts of Mexico City gave way on Friday, plunging rocks the size of small houses into a densely populated neighborhood.

Firefighters scaled a three-story pile of stones that appeared to rest on houses.

As rescuers scaled the huge pile of debris, they occasionally raised their fists in the air, the familiar signal of silence to listen to those trapped below. Firefighters and volunteers formed bucket brigades to remove 5-gallon containers of small debris during the excavation.

“Right now our priority is on rescuing people who were unfortunately surprised at the event site,” Tlalnepantla Mayor Raciel Pérez Cruz said in a video message. Authorities had evacuated surrounding homes and asked people to avoid the area so rescuers could work.

Images of the area showed a segment of the steep green side of the peak known as the Chiquihuite above a field of giant rubble with tightly packed houses remaining on either side.

There were no immediate reports of casualties as rescuers worked at the scene.

Tlalnepantla is part of the State of Mexico, which surrounds the capital on three sides. Mexican Governor Alfredo del Mazo said via Twitter that local, state and federal authorities were coordinating to secure the area in the event of further slips and to clear 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 rocked buildings 200 miles (320 kilometers) into Mexico City.

Just three days earlier, the Tlalnepantla government said in a statement that city crews were working to clean up mud and rocks that had spilled from the mountain in the same neighborhood during heavy rains.

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