MEXICO (AdChoiceTV News) — A metro overpass has collapsed in Mexico City as a train was travelling over it, killing at least 23 people, including children, the mayor said.
Two train carriages were seen hanging from the structure, above a busy road. At least 65 people were injured, and seven are in a serious condition.
One person trapped in a car underneath the wreckage was pulled out alive.
This is the deadliest incident in decades in the city’s metro system, one of the busiest in the world.
Local media broadcast CCTV footage showing the overpass collapsing, sending up clouds of dust. The crash happened at around 22:00 local time on Monday (03:00 GMT) near the Olivos station on the metro’s Line 12, in the south-east of the city.
Speaking at the scene, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the cause was still being investigated, but it appeared a girder had given way on the overpass. The line, inaugurated less than a decade ago, will remain closed.
Residents had reported cracks in the structure after a deadly 2017 earthquake, according to local media. Mexico’s El Universal newspaper says transport authorities made repairs following the reports.
A crane was sent to the scene to stabilise the carriages amid concerns they could fall onto the road, which forced officials to temporarily halt rescue efforts. Anxious friends and relatives of those believed to be on the train gathered in the area.
Efrain Juarez told AFP news agency that his son was in the wreckage. “My daughter-in-law called us. She was with him and she told us the structure fell down over them.”
A passenger, 26-year-old Mariana, told El Universal that she and other people trapped among the carriage’s twisted metal managed to escape through a window.
“We only heard a loud thunder, and everything fell apart,” she said of the moment of the incident. “There were many people standing and sitting in the carriage, and when the carriage fell, we went flying and hit our heads on its roof.”
One eyewitness told Mexico’s Televisa TV network: “Suddenly I saw that the structure was shaking.”
“When the dust cleared we ran… to see if we could help. There were no screams. I don’t know if they were in shock,” the witness said.
Mexico City’s metro system is one of the most used in the world, carrying tens of millions of passengers a week. In North America, only New York’s subway carries more people every day.
Yet the incident did not occur on one of the older lines, which have been through at least two major earthquakes in the past 35 years. Rather it happened on Line 12, completed as recently as October 2012.
There will be difficult questions for the mayor’s office to come about the construction of the line, including for several former mayors.
They include Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was in office when Line 12 was unveiled and who championed the metro’s expansion. He called the accident a “terrible tragedy”.
However, those questions must wait until later. The moment now is solely about the rescue operation as Mexicans pray the number of victims does not rise any further.
Mexico City’s metro carries about 1.6 billion passengers a year.
Last year, one person was killed and more than 40 injured in a collision between two metro trains in the city.
In 1975, two underground trains collided, killing 31 people.
Articles & Images from BBC News via Sean Tyler Chan / AdChoiceTV News