Credit…Hector Vivas/Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — A metro overpass collapsed late Monday in Mexico City, sending the automobiles of a train full of passengers plunging to the floor and killing at the very least 23 folks, together with kids, the metropolis’s mayor mentioned.

Emergency staff scrambled to a scene the place tilted train automobiles lay amid tangled wires and twisted steel, pulling dozens of individuals from the wreckage and transporting 70 folks to hospitals with accidents.

Dramatic video of the incident confirmed the overpass instantly collapsing in a bathe of sparks, sending up a cloud of particles as considered one of the train automobiles smashed right into a car on the street beneath.

In the chaotic aftermath, determined relations flocked to the scene for information of their family members, whereas others scoured metropolis hospitals in hopes of discovering their relations.

“I’m looking for my son,” the mom of a 13-year-old boy informed a neighborhood tv station by tears. “He was on the subway — I can’t find him.”

The crash occurred at 10:25 p.m. on considered one of the metropolis’s latest stretches of monitor, Line 12, which was inaugurated in 2012. Local residents had expressed concern about the structural integrity of the overpass, together with cracks in the concrete, after a robust earthquake devastated elements of the metropolis in September 2017.

Hernando Manon, 42, who lives in the space, was on his method dwelling from work when he noticed sparks mild up the night time sky and the train come crashing down.

He mentioned that he was considered one of many individuals who had observed cracks in the concrete after the earthquake. Although the cracks appeared to have been eliminated, he mentioned, he didn’t know the extent of any repairs.

Local officers didn’t handle particular issues in the rapid aftermath of Monday’s accident, however Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum mentioned that upkeep was carried out on the train line each day. The system as a complete has been tormented by issues in latest years.

“At this moment, we can’t speculate about what happened,” Ms. Sheinbaum told reporters early Tuesday. “There has to be a deep investigation, and whoever is responsible has to be held responsible.”

In the meantime, she mentioned, Line 12 would stay closed as the authorities examine the reason for the accident. Mexico City Metro advised people to keep away from the space.

Ms. Sheinbaum didn’t rule out the risk of additional incidents on the broken train line, and mentioned that the avenue that runs beneath the line can be shut down throughout an investigation.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s overseas minister, referred to as the crash a “terrible tragedy” in a Twitter post late Monday. “Of course, the causes should be investigated and the responsibilities for it defined.”

Mr. Ebard was mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012, when the new line was constructed, and accusations of poor development and planning emerged virtually as quickly because it was opened. The line was closed briefly in 2013 for repairs.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials and firefighters cordoned off the scene on Tuesday morning as relations and mates of individuals believed to have been on the train gathered outdoors the safety perimeter to hunt data.

Mayor Sheinbaum mentioned that at the very least one particular person trapped in a automotive in the mountain of rubble had been pulled out alive and brought to the hospital.

Mexican rescue personnel removing a victim’s body from the train wreck.
Credit…Marco Ugarte/Associated Press

Hours after the collapse, rescue staff were nonetheless scrambling early Tuesday to free folks trapped inside the tangle of crushed steel and collapsed concrete, which was all that also stood at the web site the place the train overpass had crumbled.

Dozens searched rigorously among the particles, some utilizing steel ladders to climb by the home windows of the train automobiles to drag folks to security. Quite a few folks were taken from the scene on stretchers as the police, emergency staff and a few volunteers labored by the night time. The rescues had been halted briefly round midnight as the train dangled precariously, however were restarted after it was secured.

A tearful mom, recognized solely as Elísabet, informed the tv channel Azteca Noticias that she was looking for her 13 year-old son, who had been out with others in the metropolis middle and was on the metro, about to come back dwelling. “I spoke five minutes ago with him,” she mentioned between sobs. “He said that he was about to arrive.” She begged the authorities to “give me back my son.”

After the crash, dozens of relations crowded round the crash web site, voicing their frustration to native reporters about not having the ability to get nearer and assist get their family members out of the particles.

Immediately after the crash, a video showed members of the community, many carrying masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, helping the injured. Three males could possibly be seen carrying one other younger man away from the web site of the wreckage. Another man hobbled from the scene, bracing himself on one other man’s arm.

Others handed out water and child wipes to assist clear the faces of those who had rushed into assist.

Shortly earlier than 2 a.m., the Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco said that at the very least 5 folks remained trapped and that search and rescue staff were utilizing a 200-ton crane to help their efforts. But a short while later, authorities’s civil safety authorities indicated that there were no longer people trapped in the rubble.

Images from the scene confirmed the crane lifting considered one of the subway automobiles barely from the collapsed roadway beneath to permit emergency staff to proceed looking for anybody who was injured or trapped.

Speaking from the scene, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum mentioned that one particular person had been pulled from a automotive trapped on the roadway beneath the collapsed rail line. At least 70 injured folks had been taken to the hospital.

Concerns about the structural integrity of the stretch of tracks where Monday’s accident occurred had been raised since a strong earthquake struck Mexico in 2017.
Credit…Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The subway system in Mexico City, the nation’s sprawling capital, handles greater than 4 million passengers a day and is the second-largest in the Americas, after New York City’s. And when it was inaugurated in 1969, embellished with Aztec artifacts and Maya-style friezes, it was the satisfaction of a nation.

But in latest years it has grow to be an emblem of city decay.

There was concern over the integrity of the elevated tracks and help columns on the stretch of tracks the place Monday’s accident occurred after a powerful earthquake hit Mexico in September 2017.

The elevated infrastructure on the subway line — often known as Line 12, or the Golden Line — was broken, El Universal newspaper reported.

Later that month, some native residents told El Universal that they feared that the broken infrastructure may collapse. The newspaper reported at the time {that a} column between the Olivos and Nopalera stations had suffered structural injury. It additionally reported that engineers were to conduct an ultrasound survey of the reinforcing metal in 300 columns alongside Line 12’s elevated portion.

It was not instantly clear what work had been achieved to handle the security issues. But there was a broad decline of the system in latest years.

The Golden Line, the place Monday’s accident occurred, was opened in 2012 and is the latest in the system. Yet from the outset, it has been beset by issues.

Trains working over elevated elements of the monitor needed to decelerate for concern they might derail. And simply 17 months after the $2 billion line was inaugurated, the metropolis suspended service on a big a part of it.

Service was later restored, however issues about the system as a complete have grown.

Last month, considered one of the capital’s 12 subway strains shut down after a monitor hearth. And in January, a fire ripped through the metro’s downtown headquarters, killing a police officer and sending 30 others to hospital with smoke inhalation. Six subway strains were quickly knocked offline.

Opposition events blamed a scarcity of upkeep for the inferno, and the conservative National Action Party filed a felony criticism towards Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and the head of the Mexico City subway.

In March 2020, one particular person was killed and at the very least 41 others were injured when two subway trains collided in Mexico City. Ms. Sheinbaum mentioned at the time that considered one of the trains had apparently backed into the different. Video of the wreckage confirmed that the pressure of the collision had left considered one of the trains caught on high of the different, according to Reuters.

The subsequent month at the Misterios station, a railway coupler — a mechanism used for becoming a member of train automobiles — fractured en path to its vacation spot. Although that incident resulted in no deaths, staff requested for extra security measures, El Universal reported.

Another derailment in 2018 despatched shock waves by a suburb of Mexico City. A train carrying cargo ran off the tracks, and considered one of its automobiles crashed right into a home, killing 5 folks.

The most up-to-date critical accident occurred in 2015, when a collision between two trains left 12 folks lifeless. In 1975, one other train collision at the Viaducto station killed 31 folks and left greater than 70 injured, according to El Universal.

An eight-second video that captured the second of collapse confirmed average site visitors flowing on both aspect of the suspended bridge when instantly it cracked and buckled in a burst of concrete and sparks, falling between the lanes of automobiles.

Another video taken a couple of minutes later confirmed a handful of law enforcement officials and volunteers utilizing development ladders arrange towards the aspect of the train to assist folks down — together with a number of who were hobbling and practically unable to stroll.

Emergency workers moving an injured person on a stretcher.
Credit…Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The crash was so sudden, witnesses mentioned, that there was hardly time to scream.

One second, passengers were zipping alongside an elevated stretch of monitor on Mexico City’s Golden Line, after which the floor fell out from beneath them.

“It happened really suddenly,” one girl informed the Mexican newspaper El Universal. “I fell into everyone else. Everyone fell into everyone.”

Surveillance footage confirmed the second the overpass collapsed immediately onto the road, sending the train plunging to the floor in a cloud of mud and particles.

“I heard an explosion — we thought it was a stationary gas tank,” one resident, Eduardo García, informed Univision Noticias, a Spanish-language media outlet, including that he had been enjoying soccer at the time. Mr. García mentioned he had instantly begun working, earlier than seeing a number of ambulances.

Enrique Bonilla, 57, who was on the train at the time of the crash, informed the tv community Televisa that he had felt a sudden motion and heard a loud sound as the bridge was collapsing. He mentioned that folks had fallen on high of each other, and that he had vomited. Mr. Bonilla was capable of seize onto a pole and, afterward, to flee by a damaged window, he mentioned, sitting on the floor after the crash.

It was throughout in seconds, Mr. Bonilla added. “Thank god I came out alive.”

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