An elevated section of the Mexico City metro collapsed and sent the train plunging toward a busy boulevard on Monday night, kill at least 23 people and injuring at least 79 people, city officials said.
Rescuers found four bodies trapped inside a wagon hanging from the viaduct, but were unable to remove them. It was not clear whether these dead were among the 23. A crane was brought in on Tuesday to lower the wagon.
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 metro system, which is among the busiest in the world.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the collapse “the most terrible accident we have ever had on public transport.” Ebrard was mayor of Mexico City from 2006 to 2012, when the line in question was built, and the collapse could be a blow to him.
“The cause of the beam collapse needs to be established through expert investigation,” Sheinbaum said.
Earlier, she said someone was pulled alive from a car stuck on the road below. She said 77 of the injured had been hospitalized. She also said children were among the dead.
The viaduct was about five meters (16 feet) above the road in the Tlahuac borough, but the train passed over a concrete middle strip, which apparently reduced the number of casualties among the motorists on the road below.
Mexico City’s metro – which is among the cheapest in the world with tickets costing around 25 cents – has had at least two serious crashes since it opened half a century ago. In March last year, a collision between two trains at Tacubaya station left one passenger dead and injured 41 people. In 2015, a train that did not stop on time crashed into another at Oceania station, injuring 12 people.
Hundreds of police and firefighters cordoned off the scene overnight as desperate friends and relatives of those suspected of being on the train gathered outside the security perimeter. Despite the fact that the coronavirus situation remains dire in Mexico City, they gathered while awaiting news.