Mexico City Metro’s overpass fell onto the road; 23 dead

MEXICO CITY – An elevated section of the Mexico City Metro broke down and sent a metro car heading towards a busy bolero late Monday night, killing at least 23 people and injuring about 70 people. Rescuers found a car hanging from the overpass to catch anyone who could be trapped.

Those efforts were suspended early Tuesday, however, due to safety concerns for those working near the precariously swinging car. A crane was brought in to help lift it up.

“We do not know if they are alive,” said Mayor Claudia Shinbaum, one of the deadliest accidents in the city’s subway system to people trapped inside a car, which is among the world’s busiest.

Earlier, Sheinbaum said that someone was pulled out of a car, which was stuck on the road below. He said that 49 injured were hospitalized, and seven were in critical condition and undergoing surgery.

“Unfortunately there are children in the dead,” Sheinboom said without specifying how many people.

The overhaul was about 5 meters (16 ft) above the road in the borough of Talahuac, but the train went over a concrete middle bar, which apparently reduced casualties among motorists on the road below.

“A support ray gave way” as soon as the train passed over it, Sheenbaum said.

The Mexico City metro has had at least two serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago. In March last year, a passenger was killed and 41 people were injured in a collision between two trains at Takubay station. In 2015, a train that did not stop in time crashed at Oceania station, injuring 12.

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene on Tuesday as desperate friends and relatives of people believed on the assembled train outside the security perimeter. Despite the fact that coronovirus conditions in Mexico City remained critical, they crowded together waiting for news.

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

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

43-year-old Gisela Ronja Castro was searching for her husband, 42-year-old Miguel Angel Espinoza. She said that her husband always takes the train after finishing work at a shop, but he never went home and stopped answering his phone. When he heard what had happened, he immediately feared the worst but did not take any information from the authorities.

“Nobody knows anything,” he said.

The collapse occurred on the newest line of the Mexico City Metro, Line 12, which spans the south side of the city. Like the city’s several dozen metro lines, it runs underground through the more central areas of the city of 9 million, but then on elevated concrete structures on the outskirts of the city.

The collapse could be a major blow to Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcello Eberard, who was mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012, when Line 12 was built. Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after Eobard stepped down as mayor. In 2013 the line had to be partially closed so that the tracks could be repaired.

Eberard wrote on Twitter, “What happened today on the metro is a terrible tragedy.”

“Of course, the causes must be investigated and those responsible should be identified,” he wrote. “I repeat that I am entirely in the nature of the authorities to contribute to whatever is necessary.”

It was not clear whether a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 could affect the metro line.


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