Ministerio de Defensa de España


On september 19th, 2017, Mexico suffered a 7.1 earthquake that severely affected different parts of the country, including its capital, Mexico city, where many buildings collapsed.

Next day, the Emergency Military Unit started a progressive deployment of an urban search and rescue team (USAR) with sanitary support, comunications and logistics capabilities. 54 soldiers, 2 from the Army were sent to Mexico in a Spanish Air Force Airbus to fulfill a bilateral request for help from that country´s government.

Coordinated with the Centralized Command for International Team Management, the Emergency Military Unit USAR team collaborated with the country´s emergency services to recue as many people alive as possible, and to find all the deceased as well. In order to carry out that job, they counted on the help of a canine team of specially trained dogs, and technical equipment including telescopic cameras that allow to see between debris, geophones to comb large grounds, as well as pneumatic cushions and hydraulic wedges to remove havy loads. 

On the first 72 hours, work was centered in locating the living and making sure there wasn´t anyone left behind when moving to another place to continue the search. Afterwards, efforts were made to recover the bodies of the deceased, and bring closure to the families.

The Emergency Military Unit main effort was centered around a building in Alvaro Obregón street. The condition of the building, that suffered a major collapse, made necessary a specialized job to cut the concrete slabs into pieces with power tools, pull the debris out and strut the spaces to progress towards the bodies without endangering the lives of the rescue team. A complex job that required a lot of time and preparation.

Among the recovered bodies was the spaniard Jorge Gómez Varó, who worked in the building and was missing since the earthquake. Besides Jorge, the Emergency Military Unit collaborated in the recovery of more than 40 bodies and locating some more. 

On the ground, the Emergency Military Unit had the continued support of the spanish embassy in Mexico with it´s ambassador Luis Fernández-Cid de las Alas Pumariño in the lead, and many spanish companies also lended their support. 

On october 5th, a spanish air force airplane brought back home the USAR team, that was received on the tarmac by the Lt. Gen in command of the Emergency Military Unit, the General Director of Civil Protection and the mexican ambassador in Spain, as well as other authorities.

This is the sixth time that the Emergency Military Unit intervenes in earthquakes. Two of them in Spain (Lorca and Melilla) and four abroad (Haití, Nepal, Ecuador and Mexico)




Operación México

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