Overpass collapse on Mexico City metro kills at least 24

Mexico City firefighters 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. .
Mexico City firefighters 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.
Rescue personnel stand in front of Mexico City subway cars laying 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.
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.
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.
APTOPIX_Mexico_Metro_Collapse_19232 An aerial view of subway cars dangle at an angle from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of Mexico City's metro collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_78500 People take photos of subway cars dangling at an angle from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_90669 Firefighters work to lower to the ground a subway car dangling from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of Mexico City's metro collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
APTOPIX_Mexico_Metro_Collapse_74181 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_33705 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 and several dead, authorities said.
APTOPIX_Mexico_Metro_Collapse_90956 Mexico City fire fighters and rescue personnel work to recover victims from a subway accident 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_78426 An aerial view of subway cars dangle at an angle from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_20272 Mexico City firefighters and rescue personnel work to recover victims from a subway accident 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 and several dead, authorities said. .
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_36172 Media stand at a police barricade barring access to the scene of a subway accident 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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_19232 An aerial view of subway cars dangle at an angle from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of Mexico City's metro collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_50349 Rescue personnel stand in front of Mexico City subway cars laying 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_73248 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_27412 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_93606 Mexican rescue personnel remove the body of a victim from a couple of subway cars 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_53611 Media and onlookers are kept behind a police tape at the scene 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 deaths, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_02367 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 and several dead, authorities said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_29532 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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_44208 Personnel work in the rescue efforts after subway cars fell when 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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_60011 Mexico City rescue personnel move a victim 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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_95666 Subway cars dangle at an angle from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro's Line 12 collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_82438 A woman demands information from a lawmaker of people injured when a metro overpass collapsed, near the site of the wreckage in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro's Line 12 collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
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.
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.
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.
Mexican rescue personnel remove the body of a victim from a couple of subway cars 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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_70472 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.
Media and onlookers are kept behind a police tape at the scene 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 deaths, authorities said.
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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_82823 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 and several dead, authorities said.
APTOPIX_Mexico_Metro_Collapse_02367 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 and several dead, authorities said.
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.
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.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_84905 A damaged subway car is removed after it was lowered from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_99655 People wait for the remains of relatives that died during the collapse of an elevated section of the city's subway system, outside a morgue in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_86286 A damaged subway car is removed after it was lowered from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_97713 Workers remove a damaged subway car after it was lowered, with the help of a crane, to the ground from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_43418 A subway car is prepared to be lowered to the ground, with the help of a crane, from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the Line 12 metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_93436 A subway car is prepared to be lowered to the ground, with the help of cranes, from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the Line 12 metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_92175 Subways cars are lowered to ground from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed late Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
Mexico_Metro_Collapse_98347 Subway cars dangle at an angle from a collapsed elevated section of the metro, in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The elevated section of the metro's Line 12 collapsed late Monday killing at least 23 people and injuring at least 79, city officials said.
(1/45)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The death toll from the collapse of an overpass on the Mexico City metro rose to 24 Tuesday as crews untangled train carriages from the steel and concrete wreckage that fell onto a roadway.

Monday night’s accident was one of the deadliest in the history of the subway, and questions quickly arose about the structural integrity of the mass transit system, among the world’s busiest.

Another 27 people remained hospitalized of the more than 70 injured when the support beams collapsed about 10:30 p.m. as a train passed along the elevated section, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said.

On Tuesday, a crane carefully lowered a train car containing four bodies to the ground.

Of the 24 killed, 21 died at the scene, while the others died at hospitals. Only five have been identified so far. Children were among the fatalities, Sheinbaum said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Carlos Miramar waited under a tent on metal chairs with two other relatives to receive the body of his uncle. The 25-year-old student had been awake since beginning an “exasperating” odyssey the previous night that took them to seven hospitals and multiple prosecutor’s offices in search of his uncle.

Now they had found 38-year-old Carlos Pineda, a man he described as a soccer fan and buoyant personality. Pineda is survived by his wife, two children ages 7 and 13, and his mother.

“I’m tired and unable to sleep,” Miramar said. “He didn’t deserve this end. He was a good father, good husband and good son.”

Initial analysis pointed to a “presumed structural failure,” Sheinbaum said, promising a thorough and independent inquiry. She added that a Norwegian firm had been hired to investigate.

“I did not have any report nor alert of any problem that could have led us to this situation,” she said.

The overpass was about 5 meters (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.

Abelardo Sánchez, a 38-year-old cook, was just closing up his sandwich shop beside the metro line when he said the ground shook, a tremendous noise echoed, lights flickered and the air filled with dust and the smell of burning wires.

Stunned, Sánchez didn’t initially react. “Then a guy in a white shirt with blood on his arms, his hands and chest came out and another guy came to help him here on the sidewalk, and he was there trembling,” he said.

The Mexico City Metro — which is among the world’s cheapest with tickets costing about 25 cents —has had at least three serious accidents since its inauguration half a century ago. In March 2020, a collision between two trains at the Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at the Oceania station, injuring 12. In October 1975, at least 26 people were killed in another accident.

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake in 2017 exposed dangerous construction defects in the elevated line near where Monday’s accident occurred. Authorities at the time had done patchwork repairs on the columns and horizontal beams.

Julio Yañez, a 67-year-old lawyer whose apartment overlooks the collapsed metro line, was working at his computer when he heard a loud noise and felt his building shake. He saw a cloud of dust and falling debris followed by an eerie silence until emergency vehicles began arriving. Helicopters landed at a nearby Walmart to ferry the injured to hospitals.

The scene shook him because he had exited the metro at that same station earlier in the day.

“That part there was already declared bad … in the earthquake, and the authorities didn’t pay attention,” Yañez said, noting similar problems were reported at another nearby station, but nothing was done. “They are time bombs.”

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

A report issued by the subway system including photos in 2017 showed that the base of one vertical column supporting the tracks had cracked and shed layers of concrete because not enough steel rebar stirrups had been used when it was built around 2010. In 2017, authorities patched and widened the column by injecting resins, swathing it in carbon fiber, building a jacket of additional rebar around the base and pouring concrete around the collar.

Authorities also found that one of the horizontal beams had come loose from its support at the top of a vertical column and was sagging — the kind of failure that could have contributed to Monday’s collapse. Authorities at the time welded steel diagonal braces to the bottom of the beam, chipped out and repoured fractured concrete elements.

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 affected line was built.

Allegations of poor design and construction on the subway line emerged soon after the Ebrard left office as mayor. The line had to be partly closed in 2014 so tracks could be repaired.

Ebrard, who leads Mexico’s efforts to obtain coronavirus vaccines, has been considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024.

“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.”

The line was closed Tuesday and hundreds of buses were called in. Thousands in surrounding neighborhoods lined up before dawn to catch the buses for work.

___

Associated Press writers E. Eduardo Castillo, Mark Stevenson and María Verza contributed.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Latin America News | World News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up