VIDEO: Mexico City metro overpass collapses onto road, leaving 23 dead

Mexico City fire fighters and rescue personnel work to recover victims from a subway car that fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Monday, May 3, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Ruiz)Mexico City fire fighters and rescue personnel work to recover victims from a subway car that fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Monday, May 3, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jose Ruiz)
Media stand at a police barricade barring access to the scene of a subway car that fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Wednesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Eduardo Castillo)Media stand at a police barricade barring access to the scene of a subway car that fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Wednesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Eduardo Castillo)
Mexico’s army soldiers hold stretchers as they wait to help in the rescue efforts after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)Mexico’s army soldiers hold stretchers as they wait to help in the rescue efforts after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Mexico City’s subway cars lay at an angle after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)Mexico City’s subway cars lay at an angle after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Rescue personnel retrieve bodies from the scene of an accident where subway cars fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries and several dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)Rescue personnel retrieve bodies from the scene of an accident where subway cars fell after a section of Line 12 of the subway collapsed in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The section passing over a road in southern Mexico City collapsed Monday night, dropping a subway train, trapping cars and causing at least 50 injuries and several dead, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent the train plunging toward a busy boulevard late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.

Rescuers found four bodies trapped inside a rail car that was dangling from the overpass but were unable to remove them. It was not clear if those dead were included among the 23. A crane was brought in Tuesday to lower the car down.

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

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard called the collapse “the most terrible accident we have ever had in mass transportation.” Ebrard was Mexico City’s mayor from 2006 to 2012, when the line in question was built, and the collapse could represent a major blow for him.

“The cause of the collapse of the beam must be established through an expert investigation,” Sheinbaum said.

Earlier she said someone had been pulled alive from a car that was trapped on the road below. She said 77 of the injured were hospitalized. She also said children were among the dead.

The overpass was about 5 metres (16 feet) above the road in the borough of Tlahuac, but the train ran above a concrete median strip, which apparently lessened the casualties among motorists on the road below.

The Mexico City Metro — which is among the world’s cheapest with tickets costing about 25 cents —has had at least two serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago. In March of last year, a collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at the Oceania station, injuring 12.

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters cordoned off the scene overnight as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the train gathered outside the security perimeter. Despite the fact that the coronavirus situation remains serious in Mexico City, they crowded together as they waited for news.

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

He said that his sister-in-law was sent to a hospital, but that his half-brother José Juan Galindo was crushed and he feared he was dead. “He is down there now,” he told journalists pointing toward the site.

Gisela Rioja Castro, 43, was looking for her husband, 42-year-old Miguel Ángel Espinoza. She said that her husband always takes that train after finishing work at a store, but he never got home and had stopped answering his phone. When she heard what happened, she immediately feared the worst but has gotten no information from the authorities.

“Nobody knows anything,” she said.

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

Allegations about poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after the Ebrard left office as mayor. Ebrard leads Mexico’s efforts to obtain coronavirus vaccines and has been considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024 elections. The line had to be partly closed in 2013 so tracks could be repaired.

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

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

On Tuesday, Ebrard appeared at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily news conference, saying, “I share the indignation that exists.”

It was not clear whether a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in 2017 could have affected the subway line. There were reports that cracks had appeared in the base of at least one of the columns that support the elevated track following that quake.

The line was closed Tuesday, and hundreds of buses were called in.

E. Eduardo Castillo, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mexico

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is offering courses in drawing May through August 2021. (Submitted)
A&E column: Art is everywhere in the Cowichan Valley

What’s going in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies, a tool that chairman Aaron Stone says will improve communications. (File photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

FILE PHOTO
Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read