A Mexico City subway bridge collapses, killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens

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mexico city train crash 2021
Rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City, Mexico May 3, 2021. REUTERS/Luis Cortes

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City officials said an elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and pushed the train toward a busy street late Monday, killing at least 23 and injuring at least 79.

Rescuers found four bodies trapped inside a train car that was hanging from the bridge but were unable to remove them. It was not clear whether these dead were among the 23 or not. And I brought a lever on Tuesday to lower the car.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said a concrete beam collapsed when a subway train passed over it in one of the bloodiest episodes in the history of the city’s subway system, which is among the busiest in the world.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard described the collapse as “the most horrific accident we have ever seen in mass transit”. Ebrard was mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012, when the line in question was established, and the collapse could be a big blow to him.

“The cause of the ray breakdown must be determined through an expert investigation,” said Sheinbaum.

She said earlier that someone was pulled out alive from a car that was trapped on the road below. She added that 77 of the injured were taken to hospital. She also said that children were among the dead.

The bridge was about 5 meters (16 ft) above the road in the town of Talawak, but the train was running over a concrete middle strip, apparently reducing losses among motorists on the road below.

The Mexico City metro – which is among the cheapest in the world with tickets costing around 25 cents – has had at least two serious accidents since it opened half a century ago. In March last year, a collision between two trains at Takobaya station killed a passenger and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time collided with another at an Oceania station, injuring 12 people.

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene overnight as desperate friends and relatives gathered for those believed to be on the train outside the security zone. Despite the fact that the coronavirus situation remains grave in Mexico City, they have rallied together awaiting news.

Adrien Loa Martinez, 46, said his mother called him to tell him that his half-brother and sister-in-law were driving when the bridge collapsed and a beam fell on their car.

He said his sister-in-law was sent to the hospital, but his half-brother Jose Juan Galindo was crushed and feared he would die. “He is there now,” he told reporters, pointing to the site.

Gisela Rioja Castro, 43, was looking for her husband, 42-year-old Miguel Angel Espinosa. She said that her husband always took this train after his work in a store ended, but he never got home and did not stop answering his phone. When she heard what had happened, she immediately feared the worst but did not get any information from the authorities.

She said, “Nobody knows anything.”

mexico city train crash
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – MAY 03: An aerial view of the scene after an elevated section of metro track in Mexico City, carrying train cars with passengers, collapsed onto a busy road on May 03, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico. The Line 12 accident happened as the metro train was traveling between Olivos and Tezonco Metro stations, reportedly killing at least 20 people and injuring further 70. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

The collapse occurred on Mexico City’s newest subway line, Line 12, which runs further into the south side of the city. Like many of the city’s dozens of subway lines, it stretches underground through more central areas of the city of 9 million people, but then spans high concrete structures on the outskirts of the city.

Allegations of poor design and construction of the subway line surfaced shortly after Eberard left his position as mayor. Ebrard is leading Mexico’s efforts to obtain coronavirus vaccines and has been considered a potential presidential candidate in the 2024 elections. The line had to be partially closed in 2013 for the tracks to be fixed.

Ebrard wrote on Twitter: “What happened today in the metro is a terrible tragedy.”

“Of course, the causes must be investigated and those responsible must be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am completely at the authorities’ disposal to contribute in any way necessary.”

On Tuesday, Ebrard appeared at President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s daily press conference, saying, “I share the discontent that exists.”

It was not clear if a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 affected the subway line. There have been reports of cracks appearing in the base of at least one of the pillars supporting the elevated course after the earthquake.

The line was closed Tuesday, and hundreds of buses have been called.

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