At least 23 people were killed overnight Monday through Tuesday, and dozens more injured in Mexico City after a skytrain bridge collapsed causing a train to plunge into a vacuum, local authorities said. .
“We deplore at this stage twenty-three deaths, including one who died in hospital,” Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who quickly arrived on the scene, told reporters.
The accident, which occurred around 10 p.m. near Olivos station, on line 12 of the metro that crosses the south of the capital, left nearly 70 injured, said Ms. Sheinbaum.
Dozens of firefighters and rescuers were busy clearing the injured and the bodies of passengers imprisoned in a pile of metal, rubble, cables and deformed rails.
Risks of collapse
Others worked to keep curious people away because of the risk of other sections of the apparently weakened structure collapsing.
The whole area was cordoned off by the police and the army, which set up a security perimeter.
“Get away,” called police officers armed with megaphone to the crowd and journalists, including that of AFP, held a hundred meters away from the scene of the accident.
Cranes went into action to lift the concrete and metal blocks, and thus free any survivors.
“Suddenly, I saw the structure breaking,” a witness told Mexican television station Televisa.
“Less than a minute later, everything fell and a cloud of dust formed,” added the witness who was not identified.
“When the dust cleared, I tried to see what I could do to help. The silence was terrible. Two people were pulled out of the rubble. The others are still buried, ”he said in a voice overwhelmed with emotion.
The metro train, one of the most recent in the network, literally broke in two in the fall of the concrete bridge, according to a description of an AFP photographer who arrived at the scene.
Entire sections of the bridge littered the road above which the structure was suspended before collapsing for reasons still unknown.
“Within fifteen minutes, I spent there”
The wreckage of a car was visible under the concrete slabs which shattered. It was not known how many people were inside.
“We felt at home, at home, the shock of the fall of the bridge,” Ricardo de la Torre, 17, who lives in the area, told AFP.
José Martinez, a worker who is used to taking this line, confides that he was saved because of his delay. “Within 15 minutes I was going there. Fortunately nothing happened to me, ”he said with relief.
Officials from the city’s prosecutor’s office were identifying the bodies extracted from the rubble.
The 12 is one of the two lines of the Mexican metro which does not run on tires like the Parisian metro, but on traditional railway tracks. It was inaugurated on October 30, 2012.
The rounds of ambulances began quickly to transport the most seriously injured, around 30, to hospitals in the area, including several people in shock who were nearby.
Witnesses voiced virulent criticism of Marcelo Ebrard, former mayor of Mexico City who inaugurated this metro line.
“Let him come, come here and see what he left us.” He is responsible, ”a woman yelled in front of the cameras, making accusations of corruption against the one who is now Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Traffic on line 12 of the Mexico City metro was completely paralyzed as a result of the accident, an official from STC (Sistema de Transporte Colectivo), the capital’s public transport authority, said.
This is the second metro accident since the start of the year. In January, a fire damaged the network’s control facilities, killing one and injuring 29 from smoke fumes.
In March 2020, a collision between two trains of the same metro left one killed and 41 injured.
The Mexico City metro was inaugurated in 1969 and serves the capital on a network of twelve lines over some 200 km and 195 stations.
According to official data, this metro carries around 4.5 million passengers per day.