Mexico City metro overpass collapses, killing at least 20 and injuring 70, authorities say; rescue efforts ongoing
At least 20 people were killed and about 70 more were injured when a metro overpass in Mexico City collapsed onto a road sending a subway car plunging toward a busy street Monday night, authorities said.
The accident, which happened near 10:30 p.m. local time, trapped cars under rubble and passengers in train cars hanging mid-air, video on social media and Mexico television showed. Emergency crews worked to recover those passengers.
A crane was working to hold up one subway car left dangling on the collapsed section so that emergency workers could enter to check the car to see if anyone was still trapped.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said 49 of the injured were hospitalized, and that seven were in serious condition and undergoing surgery.
“There are unfortunately children among the dead,” Sheinbaum said, without specifying how many.
According to the Associated Press, the overpass was about 16 feet above the road in the southside borough of Tláhuac, but the train ran above a concrete median strip, which apparently lessened the casualties among motorists on the roadway below.
“A support beam gave way,” Sheinbaum said, adding that the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it.
The AP also reported rescue efforts were briefly interrupted at midnight because the partially hanging train was “very weak” and a crane had to be brought in. There were still people trapped inside the train, but “we don’t know if they are alive,” said Sheinbaum.
The city’s Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection Agency said on Twitter that the accident injured 70 in a preliminary toll.
Alfonso Suárez del Real, secretary of Mexico City’s government, told Milenio Television that the injured were being taken to hospitals. Facebook groups had already begun to form lists of the injured early Tuesday.
Hundreds of police and firefighters cordoned off the scene in Tláhuac, as desperate friends and relatives of people believed to be on the trains gathered outside the security perimeter, reported AP.
Oscar López, 26, was searching for his friend, Adriana Salas, 26. Six months pregnant, she was riding the subway, returning from her work as a dentist when her phone stopped answering around when the accident occurred.
“We lost contact with her, at 10:50 p.m., there was literally no more contact,” López told AP.
Sheinbaum said on Twitter that she rushed to the area where video and photos showed at least one broken train.
“Firefighters, public safety personnel are working,” she tweeted. “Various hospitals attending.”
The accident happened on the metro’s Line 12, the construction of which has been plagued by complaints and accusations of irregularities. According to Reuters, the line was built when Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was mayor of the city.
“What happened today with the Metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity with the victims and their families,” Ebrard said on Twitter. “The causes must be investigated and responsibilities defined. I reiterate I’m at the authorities’ disposal to help in whatever is necessary.”
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At least four million people use the metro system in Mexico City every day, which is the second-largest in the Americas behind New York City, according to The New York Times.
The Times also reported that one man was killed and more than 40 others were injured when two subway trains collided in Mexico City in March 2020. Just five years prior in 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another, injuring 12 people.
Contributing: Charles Ventura, Steve Coogan, USA TODAY; The Associated Press