Portlander in Mexico City quake: ‘It happened so fast’

Ashley Skoch was on the 6th floor of a building that collapsed

Portland native Ashley Skoch was injured in the Mexico City earthquake, September 21, 2017 (KOIN)
Portland native Ashley Skoch was injured in the Mexico City earthquake, September 21, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ashley Skoch was in bed in Mexico City watching a show on her computer moments before a 7.1 magnitude quake rocked the region.

“The building started to shake and I knew it was an earthquake,” Skoch told KOIN 6 News in a Skype interview. “I had not a lot of time to react or really think about where to go.”

Ashley Skoch had only arrived in Mexico hours before the earthquake hit. She was alone at that time, staying at her friend’s 6th-floor apartment on Amsterdam Avenue in La Condesa in Mexico City. She was in the guest bedroom at the time the earth shook.

“Things started flying off the walls,” she said. “But I knew the (7-story) building was going to come down. I just dove in front of the bed.”

A rescue worker walks in front of an apartment building whose first four floors collapsed, in the Lindavista neighborhood of Mexico City, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. People by the millions rushed from homes and offices across central Mexico, after a 7.1 earthquake, sometimes watching as buildings they had just fled fell behind them with an eruption of dust and debris. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

She was in the back, right hand corner of the building when the front of the building collapsed.

“I noticed I was bleeding, but wasn’t quite sure from where at first.” She grabbed her carry-on backpack, her computer and passport and was able to climb out on top of the building.

“Because nothing heavy had fallen on me I was able to stand up from the rubble and gently climb out,” she said. “There were probably only 10 people on the street at that time and they were telling me to stay.”

Everyone on the ground was looking up at her with their cell phones out.

“I had the realization that I was alive and then I did a body scan and realized I wasn’t paralyzed and I could move.”

She said she saw other buildings standing and didn’t know if those would fall on her. About 15 minutes later, a crane came to her rescue.

She was in shock and once she was rescued she said the adrenaline wore off. She was taken to a clinic, where she had 4 stitches put in her head and said she believes she had a mild concussion.

Doctors are looking at her spine to make sure it was not severely injured.

For nearly 4 hours she was at the clinic without her phone and worried that her friend — whose apartment she was staying in — would think she was dead.

“I didn’t find out until later that more than 40 buildings went down,” she said. Eventually she got hold of a friend in the US, who got hold of her friend and told her which clinic Skoch was at.

Two other people were rescued that night from the apartment building, but 5 people remain missing, she said.

She’s still in Mexico City and staying with her friend’s aunt. Her friend is also safe.

But she won’t forget what happened on September 19.

“It all just felt unreal,” Ashley Skoch said. “It all happened so fast.”

Rescue personnel work on the rescue of a trapped child at the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen primary schoool in Mexico City, Sept. 20, 2017. A wing of the school collapsed after a powerful earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, killing scores of children and trapping others. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)